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Modulation of the acoustic startle response by film-induced fear and sexual arousal

, : Modulation of the acoustic startle response by film-induced fear and sexual arousal. Psychophysiology. 31(6): 565-571

The response matching model of Lang, Bradley, and Cuthbert (1992) predicts startle reflex facilitation during negative relative to positive emotional states. Using slide and imagery paradigms, larger eyeblink responses to startle probes for unpleasant than for pleasant conditions have consistently been reported. The present study extended the previously observed relationship between valence and startle to more complex stimuli, namely 1-min film fragments. Thirty-three subjects viewed a sequence of 27 film fragments with neutral, negative (fearful), and positive (sexual) contents, presented in one of three mixed orders. Blink magnitude to brief bursts of white noise was larger during fearful fragments than during sexual fragments. Blink magnitudes habituated across successive film fragments, but the positive-negative difference remained stable within film fragments and during the entire length of the videotape (approximately 40 min).


PMID: 7846217

DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.1994.tb02349.x

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