The neural correlates of habituation of response to startling tactile stimuli presented in a functional magnetic resonance imaging environment

Jennifer E. McDowell, Gregory G. Brown, Nicole Lazar, Jazmin Camchong, Richard Sharp, Kirsten Krebs-Thomson, Lisa T. Eyler, David L. Braff, Mark A. Geyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) provides a means of identifying neural circuitry associated with startle and its modulation in humans. Twelve subjects who demonstrated eyeblink startle in the laboratory were recruited for an fMRI study in which they were scanned while presented with two identical runs consisting of alternating blocks of no stimuli and startling tactile stimuli. Together, behavioral and imaging data are consistent with a pattern of general cortical and thalamic activation induced by startling stimuli that shows habituation both across and within runs. From Run 1 to Run 2, both the eyeblink amplitude and the fMRI signal decreased. Within Run 1, there was a graded decrease in eyeblink amplitude and whole-brain fMRI signal across blocks of startling stimuli. A similar graded decrease was observed in the thalamus signal, as well. Thus, startling tactile stimuli initially induce widespread cortical and thalamic activity, perhaps mediated by the reticular activating system. The activity then habituates in a graded fashion with repeated presentations of the stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Volume148
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 22 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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