Darkness-enhanced startle responses in ecologically valid environments: A virtual tunnel driving experiment

@article{Mhlberger2008DarknessenhancedSR,
  title={Darkness-enhanced startle responses in ecologically valid environments: A virtual tunnel driving experiment},
  author={Andreas M{\"u}hlberger and Matthias J. Wieser and Paul Pauli},
  journal={Biological Psychology},
  year={2008},
  volume={77},
  pages={47-52}
}
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TLDR
At least one type of fear-potentiated startle, i.e. potentiation by a cue-specific fear manipulation, is not susceptible to benzodiazepine treatment, in contrast, effects of manipulations more akin to anxiety (darkness, context) appear sensitive to Benzodiazepines.
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The major finding was that the active and passive groups did not differ in startle potentiation, suggesting that the startle reflex indexes defensive response mobilization independently of specific task demands.
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It is hypothesized that the right medial temporal lobe modulates fear responses while viewing emotional pictures, which involves exposure to (emotional) visual information and is consistent with the emotional processing traditionally ascribed to the right hemisphere.
Double Dissociation between the Involvement of the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis and the Central Nucleus of the Amygdala in Startle Increases Produced by Conditioned versus Unconditioned Fear
TLDR
The findings indicate that the neuroanatomical substrates of fear-potentiated and light-enhanced startle, and perhaps more generally of conditioned and unconditioned fear, may be anatomically dissociated.
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