The goal of this research is to explore how the processing of auditory stimuli in the brain can go awry (leading some people have aversive reactions to stimuli that most people consider innocuous).
To gain a better understanding of how these averse reactions are controlled by the brain, we are building on our research over the past 30 years. We have shown that the brain region called the amygdala is key to such responses.
One area of the amygdala , the lateral nucleus, is involved in receiving sensory inputs and another, the central nucleus, controls the expression of responses. Over-reactivity to auditory stimuli could be due to a hypersensitive lateral amygdala or an over-reactive central amygdala.
We will study animals that show exaggerated responses to auditory stimuli and will record activity in the lateral or central nucleus to try to determine whether the problem is due to hyper-sensitivity or hyper-reactivity.