Functional activation of the left amygdala and hippocampus during associative encoding

William D. Scott Killgore, Daniel J. Casasanto, Deborah A. Yurgelun-Todd, Joseph A. Maldjian, John A. Detre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The human hippocampus is critical to episodic encoding, but the role of the amygdala in memory is less clear. Animal research suggests a role for the amygdala in associative memory, but this has not been examined systematically in humans. Using fMRI, we compared amygdala and hippocampus activation for seven healthy subjects during two visual encoding tasks: serially presented single faces and faces presented as pairs. Single faces activated bilateral hippocampi, but not the amygdala. Paired faces activated bilateral amygdala, but only the left hippocampus. Subtraction of the two conditions revealed greater activation within the left amygdala and hippocampus during paired face encoding, suggesting that associative encoding activates a left- lateralized limbic network including the hippocampus and amygdala. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2259-2263
Number of pages5
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jul 14 2000


  • Amygdala
  • Associative memory
  • Episodic memory
  • Face processing
  • Hippocampus
  • Medial temporal lobe
  • Neuroimaging
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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