“Oh my God!” is a phrase that is used universally as an exclamation of outrage, shock, surprise, disappointment, wonder, anger, frustration, excitement, awe, dismay, amusement and myriad other emotions. More often than not, our reaction is primordial and instinctive, a visceral response to an event. Every time a situation or an event prompts us to react reflexively, it is because of amygdala—a set of almond-shaped neurons, vital for decoding emotions, located deep in the temporal lobes of our brain—triggering a neural response in the hypothalamus to activate the body’s fight-or-flight response. Researchers have determined that the amygdala plays a cardinal role in the processing of memory, decision-making, emotional reactions, anxiety, fear, arousal, hormonal secretions, social phobias and motivation.
The name amygdala is derived from the Greek word for almond. However, because the amygdala complex plays such an important role in our emotional responses to situations and events, I think a better name for the neurons could have been Omygdala—the Oh my God alarm!—the name of this blog.