Amygdaloid theta-band power increases during conflict processing in humans

Austin M. Tang, Kuang Hsuan Chen, Angad S. Gogia, Roberto Martin Del Campo-Vera, Rinu Sebastian, Zachary D. Gilbert, Yelim Lee, George Nune, Charles Y. Liu, Spencer Kellis, Brian Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The amygdala is a medial temporal lobe structure known to be involved in processing emotional conflict. However, its role in processing non-emotional conflict is not well understood. Previous studies have utilized the Stroop Task to examine brain modulation of humans under the color-word conflict scenario, which is non-emotional conflict processing, and found hippocampal theta-band (4–7 Hz) modulation. This study aims to survey amygdaloid theta power changes during non-emotional conflict processing using intracranial depth electrodes in nine epileptic patients (3 female; age 20–62). All patients were asked to perform a modified Stroop task. During task performance, local field potential (LFP) data was recorded from macro contacts sampled at 2 K Hz and used for analysis. Mean theta power change from baseline was compared between the incongruent and congruent task condition groups using a paired sample t-test. Seven patients were available for analysis after artifact exclusion. In five out of seven patients, statistically significant increases in theta-band power from baseline were noted during the incongruent task condition (paired sample t-test p < 0.001), including one patient exhibiting theta power increases in both task conditions. Average response time was 1.07 s (failure trials) and 1.04 s (success trials). No speed-accuracy tradeoff was noted in this analysis. These findings indicate that human amygdaloid theta-band modulation may play a role in processing non-emotional conflict. It builds directly upon work suggesting that the amygdala processes emotional conflict and provides a neurophysiological mechanism for non-emotional conflict processing as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-192
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Amygdala
  • Conflict
  • Stereo Electroencephalography
  • Stroop
  • Theta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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