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Biol Psychol. 2009 Oct;82(2):192-194. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2009.06.008. Epub 2009 Jul 4.

Affective modulation of conditioned eyeblinks.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. Box 35, FIN-40014 Jyväskylä, Finland.


Affective states are known to modulate reflexive actions. Aversive states potentiate defensive reflexes while appetitive states diminish them. The present study examined whether the same holds for associatively learned defensive eyeblinks to mild, initially neutral auditory stimuli. First, delay eyeblink conditioning was applied to human participants while they viewed emotionally neutral images. Next, the conditioned eyeblink responses (CRs) of the participants were tested during the viewing of unpleasant, neutral, or pleasant images. The most vigorous CRs were found during the unpleasant images, although they did not differ between neutral and pleasant images. The results add to the motivational priming hypothesis by demonstrating its partial applicability to associatively learned defensive behaviour.

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