Prepulse effects on magnitude estimation of startle-eliciting stimuli and startle responses

Terry D. Blumenthal, Edward J. Schicatano, Jeremy G. Chapman, Christopher M. Norris, Edward R. Ergenzinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present studies investigated the relationship between prepulse effects on the modification of the brainstem startle reflex and magnitude estimates of startle-eliciting stimuli. In Experiment 1, startle eyeblink responses were elicited in 24 students, half of whom were instructed to estimate the loudness of the startle stimulus (actual intensities of 80, 90, and 100 dB) and half of whom were instructed to estimate the magnitude of their eyeblink. When weak acoustic prepulses preceded the startle-eliciting stimulus, eyeblink amplitude was inhibited, and estimates of response magnitude decreased, but estimates of startle stimulus magnitude decreased only when 100-dB startle stimuli were presented. In Experiment 2, the same startle stimuli were preceded on some trials by a vibrotactile prepulse to the hand. In conditions in which startle amplitude was inhibited, startle stimulus magnitude estimates were not affected. This suggests that the effect of acoustic prepulses on 100-dB startle stimuli in Experiment 1 may have been due to loudness assimilation, an effect independent of the prepulse inhibition of startle responding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-80
Number of pages8
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Volume58
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Psychology (all)

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