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Heritability of startle reactivity and affect modified startle
Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8768-6954
Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.
Departments of Criminology, Psychiatry, and Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA, USA.
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2017 (English)In: International Journal of Psychophysiology, ISSN 0167-8760, E-ISSN 1872-7697, Vol. 115, p. 57-64Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Startle reflex and affect-modified startle reflex are used as indicators of defensive reactivity and emotional processing, respectively. The present study investigated the heritability of both the startle blink reflex and affect modification of this reflex in a community sample of 772 twins ages 14–15 years old. Subjects were shown affective picture slides falling in three valence categories: negative, positive and neutral; crossed with two arousal categories: high arousal and low arousal. Some of these slides were accompanied with a loud startling noise. Results suggestedsex differences in meanlevels of startle reflex as well as in proportions of variance explained by genetic and environmental factors. Females had higher mean startle blink amplitudes for each valence-arousal slide category, indicating greater baseline defensive reactivity compared to males. Startle blink reflex in males was significantly heritable (49%), whereas in females, variance was explained primarily by shared environmental factors (53%) and non-shared environmental factors (41%). Heritability of affect modified startle (AMS) was found to be negligible in both males and females. These results suggest sex differences in the etiology of startle reactivity, while questioning the utility of the startle paradigm for understanding the genetic basis of emotional processing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017. Vol. 115, p. 57-64
Keywords [en]
Startle blink reflex; Heritability; Genetic; Environmental, affect modification
National Category
Psychology Evolutionary Biology Neurology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-55064DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2016.09.009ISI: 000401047900006PubMedID: 27666795Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84992187762OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-55064DiVA, id: diva2:1069916
Note

Funding agency:

NIMH, R01 MH58354, K02 MH01114-08

Available from: 2017-01-30 Created: 2017-01-30 Last updated: 2017-09-05Bibliographically approved

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Tuvblad, Catherine

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