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Front Integr Neurosci. 2015 Jan 28;9:2. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2015.00002. eCollection 2015.

Interactions between stretch and startle reflexes produce task-appropriate rapid postural reactions.

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Sport and Exercise Sciences, Brain Health Research Centre and School of Physical Education, University of Otago Dunedin, New Zealand.


Neural pathways underpinning startle reflex and limb stretch reflexes evolved independently and have served vastly different purposes. In their most basic form, the pathways responsible for these reflex responses are relatively simple processing units that produce a motoric response that is proportional to the stimulus received. It is becoming clear however, that rapid responses to external stimuli produced by human and non-human primates are context-dependent in a manner similar to voluntary movements. This mini review discusses the nature of startle and stretch reflex interactions in human and non-human primates and the involvement of the primary motor cortex in their regulation.


long-latency stretch reflex; motor cortex; movement preparation; startReact; startle response

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