What Is The Startle Reflex?

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The quick reaction following an intense and unexpected sensory stimulation is known as the startle reflex: a diffuse protective response common to all mammals3. Although the startle reflex has enjoyed a great deal of interest because of the many attentional, affective, and motor processes that affect its manifestation4,5, there is a core research question about its functionality that remains unanswered. This question relates to the functional role of the physiological processes that outlast the overt reflex response itself. As recently pointed out by Blumenthal6, the most generally accepted function of the startle reflex is to interrupt any ongoing process in the brain so that neural resources can be allocated to process the source of the intense

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