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Muscular effort increases hand-blink reflex magnitude.

Bufacchi, R.J., Ponticelli, S., Novembre, G., Kilintari, M., Guo, Y. and Iannetti, G.D., 2019. Muscular effort increases hand-blink reflex magnitude. Neuroscience Letters, 702, 11 - 14.

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Bufacchi_etal2019_NeurosciLet.pdf - Published Version
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DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2018.11.046


Defensive motor responses elicited by sudden environmental stimuli are finely modulated by their behavioural relevance to maximise the organism's survival. One such response, the blink reflex evoked by intense electrical stimulation of the median nerve (Hand-Blink Reflex; HBR), has been extensively used to derive fine-grained maps of defensive peripersonal space. However, as other subcortical reflexes, the HBR might also be modulated by lower-level factors that do not bear direct relevance to the defensive value of blinking, thus posing methodological and interpretive problems. Here, we tested whether HBR magnitude is affected by the muscular effort present when holding the hand in certain postures. We found that HBR magnitude increases with muscular effort, an effect most likely mediated by the increased corticospinal drive. However, we found strong evidence that this effect is substantially smaller than the well-known effect of eye-hand proximity on HBR magnitude. Nonetheless, care should be taken in future experiments to avoid erroneous interpretations of the effects of muscular effort as indicators of behaviour relevance.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Funding for this research was provided by: European Research Council and Wellcome Trust, UK
Uncontrolled Keywords:Blink reflex ; Defence ; Motor system ; Muscular effort ; Threat ; Adult ; Blinking ; Electric Stimulation ; Female ; Hand ; Humans ; Male ; Median Nerve ; Muscle, Skeletal ; Posture ; Reflex ; Young Adult
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:34615
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:29 Sep 2020 10:30
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:24


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