Recent research provides a whole new understanding of the brain’s amygdala—and suggests that happy people take the bad with the good.
One way to test these hypotheses is to look at activity in the amygdala—a small, almond-shaped brain region—in people with different emotional styles. For years, neuroscientists have thought of it as the primitive “fear center” of the brain, always on the lookout for potential threats. In some people, increased amygdala activity has been linked to depression and anxiety. However, less is known about how the amygdala responds to positive stimuli—and how this activity might relate to feeling positive emotions.