Startle response

In animals, including humans, the startle response is a largely unconscious defensive response to sudden or threatening stimuli, such as sudden noise or sharp movement, and is associated with negative affect. Usually the onset of the startle response is a startle reflex reaction. The startle reflex is a brainstem reflectory reaction (reflex) that serves to protect vulnerable parts, such as the back of the neck and the eyes (eyeblink) and facilitates escape from sudden stimuli. It is found across the lifespan of many species. A variety of responses may occur because of individual's emotional state,
body posture,
preparation for execution of a motor task,
or other activities. The startle response is implicated in the formation of specific phobias.


In animals, including humans, the startle response is a largely unconscious defensive response to sudden or threatening stimuli, such as sudden noise or sharp movement, and is associated with negative affect. Usually the onset of the startle response is a startle reflex reaction. The startle reflex is a brainstem reflectory reaction (reflex) that serves to protect vulnerable parts, such as the back of the neck and the eyes (eyeblink) and facilitates escape from sudden stimuli. It is found across the lifespan of many species. A variety of responses may occur because of individual's emotional state, body posture, preparation for execution of a motor task, or other activities. The startle response is implicated in the formation of specific phobias.
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