It known that the amygdala is critical to the acquisition of fear conditioning, but how it may influence forms of implicit learning dependent on other brain regions, such as procedural learning (dependent on the striatum) remains unknown. In a set of 3 proposed experiments, participants will perform a variant of the striataldependent implicit learning task known as the weather prediction task. Participants will be asked to predict trial outcome (emotional or neutral photos) based on cue card configuration. Learning rates, cognitive strategies, and memory consolidation (assessed in a 24-hour delayed retention test) will be analyzed as a function of emotional outcome. Skin conductance will provide an on-line index of arousal. The emotional version of the task will be run on patients with amygdala damage to test the necessity of the amygdala in mediating implicit emotional probabilistic learning. Finally, fMRI in.healthy subjects will compare brain regions activated during learning and retention as a function of task condition (emotional vs. neutral); amygdala-striatal interactions can thus be examined across training blocks. This work will advance an understanding of the role of the amygdala and its interactions and connectivity with striatal regions during implicit emotional learning by combining multiple methodological approaches with a novel behavioral paradigm.
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