Toward an understanding of the emotion-modulated startle eyeblink reflex: the case of anger.Psychophysiology. 2012 Nov; 49(11):1509-22.P
Three studies investigated the effect of angering pictures on the startle eyeblink response, based on anger's unique identity as an approach-oriented negative affect. In Study 1, eyeblinks to startling noise probes during angering and neutral pictures did not differ, despite angering pictures being rated higher on arousal and anger and more negative in valence. Study 2 replicated Study 1; also, dysphoric participants exhibited potentiated eyeblinks to probes during angering pictures much like those to probes during fear/disgust stimuli. A follow-up study revealed that dysphoric participants rated angering pictures higher in fear. Study 3 again found that eyeblinks to probes during angering and neutral pictures did not differ. Taken together, these results suggest that probes during angering stimuli elicit eyeblinks much like those during neutral stimuli, perhaps due to the competing influences of arousal, valence, and motivation on the startle eyeblink reflex.