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198 – Prepulse Inhibition of Startle

A startle response is elicited by an intense stimulus with a sudden or abrupt onset such as the slamming of a door. The function of the startle response is to interrupt or disengage an organism from ongoing activity. The human startle response involves both somatic and cardiovascular components, seen in the form of a reflexive eye-blink or a whole-body jerk.

One method that is used in startle research involves the presentation of a weak, non-startling stimulus a brief time before the startle-eliciting stimulus. The weaker stimulus is called a prepulse or lead stimulus. Generally, this stimulus does not elicit a startle response. However, it can inhibit the response to a startle-eliciting stimulus, known as the prepulse inhibition of a startle effect (PPI). 

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