Psychonomic Science

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 233–235 | Cite as

Performance disruption by startle-eliciting acoustic stimuli

  • Howard S. Hoffman
  • William OvermanJr.
Animal Learning and Behavior Motivation and Emotion


Six rats were trained to press a lever on a variable interval schedule of food reinforcement. When response rates were stable, a response-independent startle-eliciting acoustic stimulus was presented at intervals of approximately 6 min, and its disruptive effects were assessed. It was found that stimulus presentations yielded large decrements in response rate that persisted for several minutes. As daily test sessions proceeded, the decrements lessened, but even after 6 days of testing, startle stimuli continued to disrupt responding.


Physiological Psychology Disruptive Effect Startle Stimulus Bryn Mawr Average Session 
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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Journals, Inc. 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard S. Hoffman
    • 1
  • William OvermanJr.
    • 2
  1. 1.Bryn Mawr CollegeBryn MawrUSA
  2. 2.Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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