Document Detail

Chemosensory anxiety signals augment the startle reflex in humans.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16257486     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The aim of the present study was to investigate whether chemosensory anxiety signals can activate behavioral withdrawal systems in humans. Twelve male university students donated their axillary sweat in two situations: right before an oral academic examination (anxiety condition) and during ergometric training (exercise condition). Subjective ratings revealed that the odor donors experienced significantly more anxiety and less pleasure during the anxiety condition than during the exercise condition. Seven subjects (three females) participated in the psychophysiological experiment. The chemosensory stimuli from pooled sweat samples of the donors, and from unused cotton pads (pad condition) were presented via a constant-flow olfactometer. Acoustic startle probes (100 dB (A)) were delivered during and between the presentations of the chemosensory stimuli. Only three subjects were able to discriminate the chemosensory stimuli of the human sweat samples from room air. However, the startle reflex amplitude (EMG of the eyeblink response) recorded in the context of chemosensory anxiety signals was increased, as compared to the amplitude recorded in the context of chemosensory stimuli from either exercise (p = 0.018) or cotton pad (p = 0.012). It is concluded that chemosensory anxiety signals may pre-attentively prime defensive behavior.
Alexander Prehn; Anne Ohrt; Bernfried Sojka; Roman Ferstl; Bettina M Pause
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2005-10-28
Journal Detail:
Title:  Neuroscience letters     Volume:  394     ISSN:  0304-3940     ISO Abbreviation:  Neurosci. Lett.     Publication Date:  2006 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-01-13     Completed Date:  2006-04-17     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7600130     Medline TA:  Neurosci Lett     Country:  Ireland    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  127-30     Citation Subset:  IM    
Institute of Psychology, Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, FRG, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Acoustic Stimulation / methods
Anxiety / psychology*
Startle Reaction / drug effects*,  physiology*
Stimulation, Chemical*
Stress, Psychological
Sweat / chemistry

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