Does emotion modulate the blink reflex in human conditioning? Startle potentiation during pleasant and unpleasant cues in the picture-picture paradigm.Psychophysiology. 2007 Sep; 44(5):737-48.P
Emotional processes modulate the size of the eyeblink startle reflex in a picture-viewing paradigm, but it is unclear whether emotional processes are responsible for blink modulation in human conditioning. Experiment 1 involved an aversive differential conditioning phase followed by an extinction phase in which acoustic startle probes were presented during CS+, CS-, and intertrial intervals. Valence ratings and affective priming showed the CS+ was unpleasant postacquisition. Blink startle magnitude was larger during CS+ than during CS-. Experiment 2 used the same design in two groups trained with pleasant or unpleasant pictorial USs. Ratings and affective priming indicated that the CS+ had become pleasant or unpleasant in the respective group. Regardless of CS valence, blink startle was larger during CS+ than CS- in both groups. Thus, startle was not modulated by CS valence.