The effect of stimulus modality and task difficulty on attentional modulation of blink startle
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The effects of the sensory modality of the lead stimulus and of task difficulty on attentional modulation of the electrical and acoustic blink reflex were examined. Participants performed a discrimination and counting task with either two acoustic, two visual, or two tactile lead stimuli. In Experiment 1, facilitation of the electrically elicited blink was greater during task-relevant than during task-irrelevant lead stimuli. Increasing task difficulty enhanced magnitude facilitation for acoustic lead stimuli. In Experiment 2, acoustic blink facilitation was greater during task-relevant lead stimuli, but was unaffected by task difficulty. Experiment 3 showed that a further increase in task difficulty did not affect acoustic blink facilitation during visual lead stimuli. The observation that blink reflexes are facilitated by attention in the present task domain is consistent across a range of stimulus modality and task difficulty conditions.
© 2004 Blackwell Publishing. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.The definitive version is available at www.interscience.wiley.com