The More or Less Startling Effects of Weak Prestimulation


  • Presidential Address, Society for Psychophysiological Research, October 24–27, 1974, Salt Lake City, Utah. This work was supported by research funds. The Grant Foundation, and by Public Health Service research grants HD01490 and HD07035 and a Research Scientist award K3-MH21762. The work of my many collaborators is cited in the text but citation inadequately expresses an indebtedness which is hereby acknowledged, albeit still inadequately.

Address requests for reprints to: Dr. Frances K. Graham, University Hospitals, Madison, Wisconsin 53706.


Weak lead stimulation can modify the human startle reflex It is proposed that, with the aid of physiological measures taken in the interval between lead and startle stimuli, this paradigm offers a promising method of investigating different levels of central processing, the operation of a short time-constant as opposed to a long time-constant system, and the operation of an orienting-Attentional as apposed an Intensity dependent activational system.