Committee report: Guidelines for human startle eyeblink electromyographic studies


  • This committee was chaired by Terry Blumenthal, to whom comments should be directed at the address below; the order of authorship was determined alphabetically. Diane Filion was partially supported by NIH grant MH061614. We thank Craig Evinger and Chris Patrick for helpful discussions of several points.

Address reprint requests to: Terry Blumenthal, Department of Psychology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109, USA. E-mail:


The human startle response is a sensitive, noninvasive measure of central nervous system activity that is currently used in a wide variety of research and clinical settings. In this article, we raise methodological issues and present recommendations for optimal methods of startle blink electromyographic (EMG) response elicitation, recording, quantification, and reporting. It is hoped that this report will foster more methodological validity and reliability in research using the startle response, as well as increase the detail with which relevant methodology is reported in publications using this measure.