, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 487-494

Prepulse inhibition of the startle eyeblink as an indicator of temporal summation


The inhibition of the human startle eyeblink response was assessed in three experiments in which the duration of the prepulse was manipulated. In all cases, inhibition of startle was more pronounced as prepulse duration increased from 6 to 50 msec. Inhibition of startle amplitude for single prepulses was not significantly different from that for paired prepulses (Experiment 1), but inhibition was more pronounced as prepulse intensity increased (Experiment 3). Varying the interval between prepulse offset and startle-stimulus onset had no significant effect on inhibition (Experiment 2). These data demonstrate the sensitivity of startle inhibition to prepulse duration, and suggest that this response system can be used to evaluate early temporal summation in the auditory system.

This research was partially supported by a grant from the Research and Creative Activities Council, Wake Forest University.