Looming animate and inanimate threats: The response of the amygdala and periaqueductal gray

Dionne S. Coker-Appiah, Stuart F. White, Roberta Clanton, Jiongjong Yang, Alex Martin, R. J.R. Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Looming stimuli are processed as threatening and activate basic neural defense systems. However, it is unclear how animacy information modulates this response. Participants (N = 25) viewed threatening or neutral images that were either animate (animals) or inanimate (objects) and which either approached (loomed) or receded from the participant. The amygdala was responsive to emotional, animacy, and looming information (particularly to looming threats and looming animate stimuli). Periaqueductal gray was also sensitive to emotional information and particularly responsive to looming threats. The data are interpreted within category-specific models of the amygdala and temporal cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-630
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2013



  • Amygdala
  • Animacy
  • Looming
  • Periaqueductal gray
  • Threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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