The effects of affective picture stimuli on blink modulation in adults and children
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Two experiments examined blink modulation during viewing of pleasant, neutral and unpleasant picture stimuli in non-selected adults (N = 21) and children (N = 60) and children with anxiety disorders (N = 12). Blink reflexes were elicited by a white noise probe of 105 dB at lead stimulus intervals of 60, 240, 3500, and 5000 ms and during intertrial intervals. Blink modulation during unpleasant pictures was significantly different from blink modulation during neutral pictures at the 60 ms lead interval in children whereas adults showed no significant differences. Picture content had no differential effect on the extent of blink modulation for adults or children at the 240 ms lead interval. At the long lead intervals, blink modulation during unpleasant and pleasant pictures was significantly larger than during neutral pictures in adults. Picture valence did not differentially affect the extent of blink modulation at long lead intervals in children. Comparing the extent of blink modulation in anxious and non-selected children, blinks were significantly modulated during unpleasant pictures at the 60 ms lead interval for both groups. However, the extent of blink modulation was larger overall at this very short lead interval in anxious children. Children did not differ at other lead intervals.
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