Clinical and physiological effects of stereotaxic bilateral amygdalotomy for intractable aggression

Gregory P Lee, Antoine Bechara, Ralph Adolphs, John Arena, Kimford J. Meador, David W. Loring, Joseph R. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations


The amygdala is thought to be an important neural structure underlying the 'fight-or-flight' response, but information on its role in humans is scarce. The clinical and psychophysiological effects of amygdalar destruction were studied in 2 patients who underwent bilateral amygdalotomy for intractable aggression. After surgery, both patients showed a reduction in autonomic arousal levels to stressful stimuli and in the number of aggressive outbursts, although both patients continued to have difficulty controlling aggression. The 'taming effect' reported after bilateral amygdalar destruction may be due to the amygdala's inadequate processing of perceived threat stimuli that would normally produce a fight-or-flight response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-420
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this