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

  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},
Virtual Reality for Enhanced Ecological Validity and Experimental Control in the Clinical, Affective and Social Neurosciences
The present review highlights the potential of virtual reality environments for enhanced ecological validity in the clinical, affective, and social neurosciences with growing interest in contextually embedded stimuli that can constrain participant interpretations of cues about a target’s internal states.
Effects of personal relevance and simulated darkness on the affective appraisal of a virtual environment
The results show that the VE was appraised as slightly less pleasant and more arousing in simulated darkness (compared to a daylight) condition, as expected, and the fictitious follow-up assignment had no emotional effects and did not influence the affective appraisal of the VEs.
Is a Dark Virtual Environment Scary?
The experiences of users exploring the VE were not affected by the simulated lighting conditions, even after acute prior stress, and lowering the illumination level in a desktop VE is not sufficient to elicit anxiety, which has implications fordesktop VE representations that are deployed for serious gaming and training purposes.
Who's afraid of Virtual Darkness - Affective Appraisal of Night-time Virtual Environments
Computer simulations have become indispensable tools to communicate design and planning impacts and to investigate human perception of built environments (e.g. TAHRANI & MOREAU 2008). Desktop VEs are
Mood Induction Using Virtual Reality: a Systematic Review of Recent Findings
Experimental research into emotion has struggled with the lack of ecological validity of the testing paradigms. One potential way to deal with that issue is through the use of virtual reality (VR),
Virtual reality exposure in anxiety disorders: Impact on psychophysiological reactivity
Evidence is provided that VR exposure elicits psychophysiological fear reactions in patients and healthy subjects, rendering VR a promising treatment for anxiety disorders, and a potent research tool for future investigations of psychophysiology processes and their significance during exposure treatment.
Delay and trace fear conditioning in a complex virtual learning environment—neural substrates of extinction
Brain structures involved in the extinction of human delay and trace fear conditioning are compared in a between-subjects-design in an fMRI study and results point to different extinction processes in Delay and trace conditioning.


Darkness facilitates the acoustic startle reflex in humans
Fear conditioning in virtual reality contexts: a new tool for the study of anxiety
Context Conditioning and Behavioral Avoidance in a Virtual Reality Environment: Effect of Predictability
Effects of threat of shock, shock electrode placement and darkness on startle.
  • C. Grillon, R. Ameli
  • Psychology, Biology
    International journal of psychophysiology : official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology
  • 1998
Benzodiazepines have no effect on fear-potentiated startle in humans
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.
Startle potentiation during anticipation of a noxious stimulus: active versus passive response sets.
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.
A Double Dissociation in the Affective Modulation of Startle in Humans: Effects of Unilateral Temporal Lobectomy
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
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.