A nifty imaging study shows that the human brain processes fear faster than any other emotion.

The team found that subjects became aware of faces that had fearful expressions before neutral or happy faces. They believe a brain area called the amygdala, which shortcuts the normal brain pathway for processing visual images, is responsible.

“The amygdala receives information before it goes to the cortex, which is where most visual information goes first. We think the amygdala has some crude ability to process stimuli and that it can cue some other visual areas to what they need to focus on,” Zald said.

When I interviewed for graduate school, I met Dr. Zald. All I remember was he played a weird instrument, like a zither, which he displayed in his office. It seems he made a CD which he kept in his office, too.

The amygdala and face processing
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