The amygdala (one in each cerebral hemisphere) is part of the brain system that controls freezing behavior and other defensive responses in threatening situations. It plays an important role in fear responses and even in learning to fear new stimuli. It engages in implicit processing and learning, and strengthens the consolidation of explicit memories formed during emotional arousal. (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self, How Our Brains Become Who We Are. p 120-123, 222. NY:Penguin Books, 2002.)

One of the brain organs associated with fear – translates perception of danger into action. Input can arrive from the senses and/or from the cortex. (Shreeve, James. Beyond the Brain. p 20-21. National Geographic, Vol. 207, No. 3, March, 2005.

Cells in the amygdale exhibit electrical activity that is synchronized to the person’s heartbeat. This changes as the heartbeat changes. (Childre, Doc and Howard Martin. The HeartMath Solution. p 141-142. CA:Harper SF, 1999.)

The trigger point for compelling emotions (when we perceive a threat or are under stress) is the amygdala, a limbic brain structure that scans what happens to us from moment to moment, ever on the alert for an emergency…the prefrontal area can veto an emotional impulse--and so ensure that our response will be more effective. (Goleman, Daniel, PhD, with Richard Boyatzis, and Annie Mckee. Primal Leadership. p 28. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002.)