Cognitive influences on the sensorimotor gating of the acoustic startle reflex

Ruth Mindy Glass
Prepulse inhibition (PPI) is viewed as a measure of sensorimotor gating in which the startle response to a sudden intense stimulus (pulse) is attenuated by a weaker stimulus (prepulse) that immediately precedes the pulse. Similarly, in the cognitive domain, individuals can filter out unnecessary thoughts and impulses, essentially "cognitive gating." There are many neuroanatomical overlaps between the sensorimotor gating and cognitive gating domains, as well as the coupling of deficiencies of
more » ... deficiencies of both in certain mental disorders. Using a novel paradigm, the current study investigated whether changes in sensorimotor gating can be linked to cognitive gating. One hundred and two healthy volunteers were divided into groups and underwent two acoustic startle PPI sessions, before and after a specific task. Depending on the group, the task consisted of either a passive activity or one of three cognitive tasks, varying in cognitive gating demands. Passive activity between PPI sessions had differential effects on percent inhibition changes compared to an intervening cognitively demanding task. That is, cognitive gating tasks, but not attentional tasks, interfered with PPI magnitude, with systematic variations occurring between male and female subjects. Overall, the results imply a strong relationship between sensorimotor and cognitive gating domains, providing an opportunity to broaden our understanding of potential mechanisms underlying each of these processes
doi:10.7282/t3tq637f fatcat:luc4mvwlwfekpaloamf4pez3r4