Sex differences in amygdala activation during the perception of facial affect

W. D.S. Killgore, D. A. Yurgelun-Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

216 Scopus citations


The cognitive and affective systems of the cerebral cortex are often more lateralized in males than females, but it is unclear whether these differences extend to subcortical systems. We used fMRI to examine sex differences in lateralized amygdala activity during happy and fearful face perception. Amygdala activation differed for men and women depending on the valence of the expression. Overall, males were more lateralized than females, but the direction differed between valence conditions. Happy faces produced greater right than left amygdala activation for males but not females. Both sexes showed greater left amygdala activation for fearful faces. These findings suggest that the lateralization of affective function may extend beyond the cortex to subcortical regions such as the amygdala.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2543-2547
Number of pages5
Issue number11
StatePublished - Aug 8 2001


  • Affect
  • Amygdala
  • Cerebral laterality
  • Emotion
  • Faces
  • Fear
  • Functional neuroimaging
  • Happy
  • Sex differences
  • Visual perception
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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