Emotion modulation of the startle reflex during 300-ms picture presentation: a replication study
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In the present study, the emotion modulation of the startle reflex after showing pictures of different emotional valence at varying probe times, was examined. The main objective was replicating Larson et al. (2005), who showed distinct patterns of emotion modulation at different probe times after a 300-ms presentation of pictures with different emotional content. By studying the emotion modulation of the startle with picture presentations of 300 ms, more information can be obtained about the usefulness of startle measurement in research on the immediate affective impact of pictures. In addition, a possible correlation between trait anxiety (STAI-score) and the mean blink magnitude was examined. This can give insight in the reactivity of individuals with high trait anxiety, which could be used in a clinical setting. Paired samples t-tests found no significant emotion modulation effect, nor did the correlation reach significance. This might indicate that a 300-ms picture presentation is not sufficient to evoke emotion modulation of the startle reflex or that the picture has to be present at the time of the probe in order to elicit emotion modulation.