Portions of this research were supported by a grant from the Wake Forest University Social Science Research Fund.
Impact of stimulus signal-to-noise ratio on prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle
Article first published online: 16 FEB 2007
Volume 44, Issue 2, pages 339–342, March 2007
How to Cite
Franklin, J. C., Moretti, N. A. and Blumenthal, T. D. (2007), Impact of stimulus signal-to-noise ratio on prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle. Psychophysiology, 44: 339–342. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2007.00498.x
- Issue published online: 16 FEB 2007
- Article first published online: 16 FEB 2007
- (Received July 31, 2006; Accepted December 6, 2006)
- Stimulus intensity;
- Signal-to-noise ratio
Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the human acoustic startle response is reduced in the presence of background noise of a sufficient intensity, possibly due to a reduction in signal-to-noise ratio (prepulse intensity relative to background noise). We examined this hypothesis by varying prepulse intensity and background noise intensity in order to hold three different signal-to-noise ratios constant (5, 15, and 25 dB(A) above background noise intensity). The results showed that signal-to-noise ratio proved to be a more important factor than absolute stimulus intensity in determining the degree of PPI of startle eyeblink response magnitude. Therefore, the effectiveness of a prepulse is determined by prepulse salience, not intensity, and this effectiveness is equivalent across a range of physical intensities.