UNIT 8.11A Fear-Potentiated Startle in Rats

  1. Michael Davis

Published Online: 1 MAY 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0811as14

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

How to Cite

Davis, M. 2001. Fear-Potentiated Startle in Rats. Current Protocols in Neuroscience. 14:8.11A:8.11A.1–8.11A.11.

Author Information

  1. Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAY 2001
  2. Published Print: FEB 2001


Fear-potentiated startle measures the increase in the startle reflex elicited by a sudden noise in the presence of a cue that has previously been paired with footshock. It involves an initial training session in which a cue, such as a light, is paired with footshock, and then a later test session in which startle is elicited in the presence or absence of the cue. It thus involves associative learning, memory for that association measured during the retention test, and conditioned fear in the presence of the cue. Drugs that interfere with learning, memory, or fear and anxiety can alter fear-potentiated startle depending on when they are given with respect to training and testing.