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Brain Sci. 2017, 7(2), 16; doi:10.3390/brainsci7020016

Inhibitory Control under Threat: The Role of Spontaneous Eye Blinks in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

1
Department of Psychology, City College, City University of New York, New York, NY 10017, USA
2
Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78705, USA
3
Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University, South Avenue, Garden City, NY 11530, USA
4
Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Zhewu Wang
Received: 25 July 2016 / Revised: 19 January 2017 / Accepted: 24 January 2017 / Published: 4 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Pathogenesis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD))
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Abstract

This study is the first to explore spontaneous eye blink rate (sEBR) in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We investigated the connection between the magnitude of flanker interference in PTSD participants and sEBR during performance on a modified version of the Eriksen flanker task. As a peripheral measure of cognitive control and dopaminergic function, sEBR may illuminate the relationship between PTSD and executive function. Findings revealed a positive relationship between sEBR and flanker interference in participants diagnosed with PTSD, to both threat-related and neutral stimuli, whereas this relationship was negative in participants exposed to trauma but without PTSD and in healthy controls. Although our results are suggestive of sEBR as a potential physiological index of emotional management in PTSD, most of the correlations were not significant, indicating that further research with a larger sample is needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: post-traumatic stress disorder; spontaneous eye blink rate; trauma exposure; flanker interference; cognitive control; inhibitory control post-traumatic stress disorder; spontaneous eye blink rate; trauma exposure; flanker interference; cognitive control; inhibitory control
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Rubin, M.; Hien, D.A.; Das, D.; Melara, R.D. Inhibitory Control under Threat: The Role of Spontaneous Eye Blinks in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Brain Sci. 2017, 7, 16.

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