Impaired fear conditioning following unilateral temporal lobectomy in humans

Kevin S. LaBar, Joseph E. LeDoux, Dennis D. Spencer, Elizabeth A. Phelps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Classical fear conditioning was used in the present study as a model for investigating emotional learning and memory in human subjects with lesions to the medial temporal lobe. Animal studies have revealed a critical role for medial temporal lobe structures, particularly the amygdala, in simple and complex associative emotional responding. Whether these structures perform similar functions in humans is unknown. On both simple and conditional discrimination tasks, unilateral temporal lobectomy subjects showed impaired conditioned response acquisition relative to control subjects. This impairment could not be accounted for by deficits in nonassociative sensory or autonomic performance factors, or by differences in declarative memory for the experimental parameters. These results show that medial temporal lobe structures in humans, as in other mammals, are important components in an emotional memory network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6846-6855
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1995


  • amygdala
  • classical conditioning
  • discrimination learning
  • emotion
  • fear
  • skin conductance response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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