Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Quartz & Sejnowski: Cognitive development

Beyond attention: The role of amygdala NMDA receptors in fear conditioning

Jonathan C. Gewirtz a1 and Michael Davis a1
a1 Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, Yale University, Ribicoff Research Facilities of the Connecticut Mental Health Center, New Haven, CT 06508


Several types of amygdala-dependent learning can be blocked by local infusion of NMDA antagonists into the amygdala. This blockade shows anatomical, pharmacological, temporal, and behavioral specificity, providing a pattern of data more consistent with a role for NMDA receptors in learning than in arousal or attention, and supporting the contention that an “LTP-like” process is a neural substrate for memory formation.