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Dorsal/ventral parcellation of the amygdala: relevance to impulsivity and aggression
Psychiatry Publications and Presentations
  • Abilash Gopal, University of California
  • Erika Clark, Suffolk University
  • Amy Allgair, Brown University
  • Christopher D'Amato, Lemuel Shattuck Hospital
  • Margery Furman, Suffolk University
  • David A. Gansler, Tufts University School of Medicine
  • Carl E. Fulwiler, University of Massachusetts Medical School
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Psychiatry
Publication Date
Document Type
Amygdala; Aggression; Impulsive Behavior; Neuroimaging

Investigations into the specific association of amygdala volume, a critical aspect of the fronto-limbic emotional circuitry, and aggression have produced results broadly consistent with the 'larger is more powerful' doctrine. However, recent reports suggest that the ventral and dorsal aspects of the amygdala play functionally specific roles, respectively, in the activation and control of behavior. Therefore, parceling amygdala volume into dorsal and ventral components might prove productive in testing hypotheses regarding volumetric association to aggression, and impulsivity, a related aspect of self-control.

We sought to test this hypothesis in a group of 41 psychiatric patients who received standard magnetic resonance imaging and a psychometric protocol including aggression and impulsivity measures. Whole amygdala volumes were not associated with aggression or impulsivity, but significant correlations were found when dorsal/ventral amygdalae were analyzed separately. Specifically, left and right ventral amygdala volume was positively associated with motor impulsivity, and left dorsal amygdala was negatively associated with aggression.

Results are discussed in terms of an activation and control model of brain-behavior relations. Potential relevance to the continuum of amygdala hyper- to hypo-activation and aggression is discussed.

DOI of Published Version
Psychiatry Res. 2013 Jan 30;211(1):24-30. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2012.10.010. Link to article on publisher's site
Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
PubMed ID
Citation Information
Abilash Gopal, Erika Clark, Amy Allgair, Christopher D'Amato, et al.. "Dorsal/ventral parcellation of the amygdala: relevance to impulsivity and aggression" Vol. 211 Iss. 1 (2013) ISSN: 0165-1781 (Linking)
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