Startle and prepulse inhibition as a function of background noise: A computational and experimental analysis

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Abstract

Schmajuk and Larrauri [Schmajuk NA, Larrauri JA. Neural network model of prepulse inhibition. Behav Neurosci 2005;119:1546–62.] introduced a real-time model of acoustic startle, prepulse inhibition (PPI) and facilitation (PPF) in animals and humans. The model assumes that (1) positive values of changes in noise level activate an excitatory and a facilitatory pathway, and (2) absolute values of changes in noise level activate an inhibitory pathway. The model describes many known properties of the phenomena and the effect of brain lesions on startle, PPI, and PPF. The purpose of the present study is to (a) establish the magnitude of startle and PPI as a function of pulse, prepulse, and background intensity, and (b) test the model predictions regarding an inverted-U function that relates startle to the intensity of the background noise.

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