Amygdala Hijack

Amygdala Hijack

Last update: 16 May, 2017

Have you ever felt hopelessly dragged by a very powerful emotion that has made you lose control? Have you ever let yourself get carried away and said things that you later regretted? Or, have you ever felt that it was a certain emotion which controlled your brain, not you? If you have answered positively to any of these questions, that means that you have been hijacked at some point by your amygdala.

Amygdala hijack is a term coined by the psychologist Daniel Goleman in order to explain this type of uncontrollable emotional reaction. Goleman, as an expert in emotional intelligence, tells us that the secret to us becoming irrational has to do with a momentary and immediate lack of emotional control. It occurs when the amygdala takes over our brain.

“Intense negative emotions absorb all of the individual’s attention, serving as an obstacle to any attempt to attend to other things.”
-Daniel Goleman-

The amygdala is a subcortical structure in the inner part of the medial temporal lobe. It tends to be easy to recognize because of its almond shape. Along with the hippocampus, hypothalamus and the orbitalfrontal cortex, they form part of the emotional brain or the Lymbic System.