Home WakeSpace Scholarship › Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Testing the "Interrupt Hypothesis": Does startle disrupt cognitive processing?

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Item Files

Item Details

abstract
The startle response is an automatic, defensive reflex that occurs in response to sudden transient change in the environment, and is characterized by physiological activity including muscle contraction in the face, neck, and shoulders. Prepulse inhibition (PPI) occurs when a stimulus is presented shortly before a startle stimulus resulting in attenuation of the response. Graham (1975) proposed the Interrupt and Protection Hypotheses to explain the role of PPI, positing that PPI occurs to protect processing of a prepulse from the disrupting effect of the startle response. Although these hypotheses have been assumed in the literature for several decades, little empirical support exists to justify the claim. The present study sought to address the Interrupt and Protection Hypotheses by combining the Attention Networks Test (ANT), a combined flanker and cue reaction time task that measures the efficiency of several attentional networks, with the startle paradigm. Startle stimuli were presented in the interval between the onset of the visual cue and the onset of the target and results were compared to control trials during which no startle stimulus was presented. No evidence was found to support the Interrupt Hypothesis, and since no interruption occurred, the Protection Hypothesis could not be evaluated.
subject
ANT
Attentional networks
Cognition
Interrupt
Startle
contributor
Reynolds, John Zachary (author)
Blumenthal, Terry D (committee chair)
Schirillo, James A (committee member)
Jennings, Janine M (committee member)
Laurienti, Paul J (committee member)
date
2013-01-09T09:35:13Z (accessioned)
2013-01-09T09:35:13Z (available)
2012 (issued)
degree
Psychology (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/37660 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
Testing the "Interrupt Hypothesis": Does startle disrupt cognitive processing?
type
Thesis

Usage Statistics