The amygdala is a tiny part of the brain that plays a large role in several key cognitive functions, including memory, recall, fear response, and emotions like anger and sadness. Although often referred to as one structure, there are actually two amygdalae — one in each hemisphere of the brain.

The amygdala is part of the limbic system. The limbic system is a part of the brain that’s often considered “primitive” — meaning it controls many of your basic wants and needs. The limbic system also includes the hippocampus and the hypothalamus. The limbic system is involved in emotions and helps you become aware of sensations like pain.

Amygdala And Hippocampus

The amygdala and the hippocampus are connected, and are considered two critical parts of the limbic system and the brain. It is believed that they work in tandem to process and translate emotions into long-term memories.

Amygdala And Anxiety

Since the amygdala regulates fear response, researchers believe that it also plays a role in the behavioral expression known as anxiety.

In some ways, anxiety is the expression of the amygdala getting “hijacked” by your body’s natural fight/flight/freeze stress response.

Do Psychedelics Affect The Amygdala?

Studies indicate that psychoactive compounds like psilocybin could have an effect on the amygdala — and help regulate emotions and mood as a result.