This book is the first comprehensive volume devoted to startle modification, particularly modification of the human startle eyeblink reflex. As such, it offers a unique overview of the paradigms used to study startle modification, the methods used to measure and quantify startle modification, and the physiological and psychological processes mediating and moderating the phenomena of startle modification.
Why devote an entire book to a seemingly esoteric and narrow topic such as the modification of the startle reflex? The answer is that the study of startle modification is deceptive in its appearance of being narrow and esoteric. In fact, the study of startle modification offers the potential to expose and clarify a number of important issues across diverse areas of psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience. The startle reflex and its modification are rich with implications for neuroscience, cognitive science, and clinical science; hence, the subtitle of this book.
Beyond having implications for several subareas of scientific inquiry, the study of startle modification has implications for the integration across these areas. Startle modification in its various forms may provide a powerful integrative research tool. It is a paradigm that can bridge the methods and concepts of neuroscience, cognitive science, and clinical science. The growing interest in this paradigm attests to the emerging sense of the important integrative nature of the study of startle modification.
For cross-disciplinary integration to occur, however, researchers in different disciplines with their different terminologies and different concepts need to communicate. That is one of the primary reasons for this book.