All About the Amygdala

The amygdala is a small-yet-crucial cluster of neurons located in the medial temporal lobe of the brain. The human brain actually has two of these clusters, the plural of which is called the amygdalae. However, the pair is commonly referred to as simply “the amygdala.” The amygdala is part of the body’s limbic system, and based on research that has been performed on the human brain, it is believed that its primary function is processing memory and emotion.

The Role of the Amygdala

The amygdala is largely responsible for processing memory and emotional responses, but its most basic responsibility is to act as the brain’s surveillance system. This means that it is constantly monitoring one’s surroundings for potential dangers and is ready to help initiate a fight-or-flight response.

The amygdala is also closely related to the ability to feel and apply empathy to certain situations. It helps aid people in making decisions by filtering the thoughts people have about themselves and the world around them. In this way, the amygdala plays a role in nearly every decision we make, no matter how urgent or trivial they may be.

Amygdala Sex Differences

The amygdala is one of the most well-understood regions of the brain with regard to differences between the sexes. Specifically, the amygdala is larger in male brains than in female brains for children between the ages of 7 and 11, adult humans and adult rats. This region of the brain also shrinks by as much as 30 percent in human males that are castrated.

The lateralization of the amygdalae may also be affected by a person’s sex. In one study that involved men and women watching horror films, enhanced memory of the film was related to greater activity in the left amygdala in women, while in men, the right amygdala was more active. The right amygdala is linked with taking action when confronted with negative emotions, while the left amygdala is more associated with memory retention. This may be why men are more likely to have a physical reaction to emotionally stressful stimuli.

The amygdala also appears to be linked to anxiety and the fact that women are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders than men. Men typically have higher levels of serotonin receptors in their amygdalae, which is why they are likely to have a stronger fight-or-flight response than women in stressful situations.

Disorders Associated With the Amygdala

A number of neurological and mental disorders may be closely related to abnormal functioning of the amygdala. These disorders include autism, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and many phobias. As stated above, the amygdala may also be closely related to anxiety disorders, particularly in women. This can be due to a number of different factors ranging from brain damage to developmental disorders.

There is much that scientists have yet to discover about the brain, and that includes the function and nature of the amygdalae. Although this particular brain structure is better understood than most of the brain, there is still more that we can learn about it. What we do know is that it is fascinating and versatile. It is responsible for processing our emotions, and it helps us make every decision we make throughout our lives.


Neil Mortensen is a freelance writer who concentrates on anatomy, brain physiology, Brain Injuries, neuroscience, general science and other issues as well.

DIY Steps for Completing an Oil Change

Step 1: Unplug the oil pan.

The oil pan is located at the very bottom of the engine. There is usually a square head bolt screwed into it on the side. Grab something to catch the oil in, like a bucket, and unscrew the bolt with an adjustable wrench. If you need to jack your car up to do this, remember, the best place to lift a car with a jack is usually the frame. This will prevent damage to your vehicle.

The used oil collected should be properly disposed of. According to Hamilton County, Tennessee, used oil can be recycled into new lubricants. Check your state’s website for more information on how to dispose of used oil and oil filters.

Step 2: Remove the filter.

While you wait for the oil to drain, open the hood of the car and locate the oil filter. The filter is cylindrical, about three inches wide, and usually screwed onto the lower part of the engine, on the side. Depending on the make and model, it may be best to remove the filter while standing under the hood. Filters on some cars, however, can be more difficult to get to, requiring the mechanic to jack up the car and remove a tire to reach it. If the filter is too difficult to turn from under the hood, you may have to get on the ground and find another way.

Oil filters can be neatly removed by using a special oil filter wrench or oil filter pliers. However, if you do not have either of these tools, or if you have a stubborn oil filter that will not turn, you can always impale the filter with a screwdriver and twist it off. This can be extremely messy, though. The filter will be filled with oil.

Step 3: Replace the filter.

Each make and model of car will have a specific kind of oil filter that must be used. Simply go to your local auto parts store and look up the right part. Once you have the right filter, take it out of the box and rub some oil along the rubber ring next to the screw threads. This is very important. If there is no oil on the rubber ring when the filter goes on, it will be extremely difficult to remove for the next change. Next, screw the filter on until it is tight.

Step 4: Re-plug the oil pan.

By now, your oil pan has probably stopped dripping oil. Simply screw the plug back in and tighten it with an adjustable wrench.

Step 5: Replace the oil.

Locate the oil cap under the hood of the car. It is usually on the top of the engine. Get a funnel and pour your new oil in. Please note that the amount of oil required, how often it should be changed, and the kind that should be used is different for every make and model. Be sure to consult your car manual before changing the oil in your car.

As the new oil is poured in, you can periodically check the oil level by pulling out the oil stick (a thin strip of metal or plastic located under the hood). This strip will indicate how much oil is inside the engine, but you must wait for the new oil to drip down to the oil pan for it to be accurate. If you accidentally fill the engine with too much oil, simply unscrew the plug at the bottom to let a little out.


Thomas Sheridan writes on car mechanics, car maintenance, the auto industry and other related subjects. Thomas recommends Collins Automotive for those looking to learn more about mechanical and maintenance issues.

The Beauty of Concrete Patios

If you have a patio that is just ho-hum or are thinking about adding a patio to your backyard space, consider installing a decorative concrete patio. The concrete patios of today are no longer slabs of gray cement in boxy square or rectangular shapes. Rather, they’re made in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors to enhance the beauty of your home. Below are some of the benefits you will enjoy when you install a modern concrete patio to your backyard.

They Extend Your Living Space

If you have a beautiful backyard that you rarely spend time in, you are missing out on year-round fun! Your concrete patio space will be the foundation to which you can add all of the outdoor amenities you enjoy most. This could be an area to grill, a full outdoor kitchen, a built-in seating area, a fireplace or a place to arrange your patio furniture. You can design your patio to be an extension of your home, not just a place for a few lawn chairs.

They Can Be Custom Designed

When you look at primitive concrete patios, they spark no imagination, but that is not the case with decorative concrete patios. Instead of being limited to a square or rectangle shape, you can design your patio in a shape that best suits your design aesthetic. You can choose your concrete from a variety of colors and textures to create an outdoor space that has the beauty of indoor detail. You can even incorporate built-in decorative structures like benches fountains, and planters to further enhance your new patio space.

They Complement Your Landscaping

If you have invested time and energy into creating beautiful outdoor landscaping but don’t have a comfortable place to sit and enjoy it, you are missing out! You can design your patio so that your flowers and plants line its outer edges, adding more appeal to your yard’s appearance. For privacy, you can use foliage to enclose your patio space, and you can add awnings and patio covers to create privacy and shade.

They Can Be Used To Create Pathways

Patios no longer have to be limited to the area directly outside of your backdoor or patio door. Modern patios can be placed anywhere you want, and you can have more than one patio if you desire. Maybe you have a standard patio that rests outside of your door, but it is connected to a pathway that leads to a secondary patio in your garden. Pathways reduce damage to your grass by foot traffic and can add creative visual appeal.

Increases Your Property Value

Any addition to your home or beautification to your landscaping will add to your property’s value. While you may not be in the market to sell your home anytime soon, your home is an asset and its value should be maintained or improved by adding additional features such as a well-designed patio space.

By adding external landscaping elements like decorative concrete patios, you will show your sense of pride in your home and create a space that feels more welcoming and inviting. It’s the best of both worlds: an improvement in your home’s value and something you can actively and truly enjoy while you occupy your home!


Jacob Plymouth is a freelancer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jacob writes on home improvement, home maintenance, home decoration, construction, gadgets and gizmos, green living and other kindred topics. A big believer in the utility and value of concrete for homeowners, Jacob recommends curious readers direct their attention to Beautify Your Concrete to learn more about the possible uses of the substance.

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