The startle reflex response is a defensive measure that reflects emotional processing and is recorded as an eye-blink reflex.
One study examined the startle response to a variety of stimuli in heavy drinkers.
– For purposes of the study, the participants were exposed to a mix of photo images over a four-year period.
– Patients with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) showed abnormal startle-reflex responses to alcohol-related stimuli.
– Reduced startle-reflex response to alcohol-related and aversive pictures was found to predict AUD status in previously heavy drinkers.
The authors suggested that a diminished startle-reflex response to alcohol-related and aversive stimuli may reflect a greater reward motivation among vulnerable drinkers and can serve as a clinical marker to predict the future development of AUDs.
Read the full story here