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Fear & the Brain

Brain Structures

Brain image map

Scroll over the brain above to learn about some of fear’s key players.

It’s an exciting time for the science of fear a time when scientists are actively researching and learning about this and other basic emotions.

People have sought a better understanding of the mysterious workings of the brain since ancient times. But until relatively recently, determining exactly how emotion relates to brain function was considered too difficult or abstract a question to fruitfully study.

Today, modern technology and an improved understanding of basic brain processes have equipped researchers with the tools and knowledge to really begin to see how emotions, such as fear, operate in the brain.

Using a variety of techniques, such as studying animals and individuals with damaged or completely missing brain areas, scientists have managed to shed light on areas of the brain that are important to the fear response.

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Click play to watch several fear-related areas in a rotating 3-D model of the brain.

Hippocampus Amygdala Brain Stem Hypothalamus Prefrontal Cortex Thalamus Sensory Cortex Sensory Cortex Sensory Cortex