The amygdala plays a central role in both acquisition and expression of conditioned fear associations and dysregulation of the amygdala leads to fear and anxiety disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Computational modeling has served as an important tool to understand the cellular and circuit mechanisms of fear acquisition and extinction. This review provides a critical appraisal of existing computational modeling studies of the amygdala and extended circuitry in acquisition and extinction of learned fear associations. It gives a broad overview of the computational techniques applied to amygdala modeling with an emphasis on how computational models could shed light on the neural mechanisms of fear learning, inform experimental design, and lead to specific, experimentally testable hypotheses. It covers different types of published models including rule‐based models, connectionist type models, phenomenological spiking neuronal models, and detailed biophysical conductance‐based models. Specific attention is given to the evolution of amygdala models from simple rule‐based and connectionist type models to more sophisticated and biologically realistic models. Future direction on computational modeling of the amygdala and associated networks in emotional learning is also discussed.
Part of the book: The Amygdala