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September 16, 1939

The Startle Pattern

JAMA. 1939;113(12):1156. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800370072037

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This is a rather extensive report of a simple series of experiments of a type only too seldom seen in this country. The writers begin with the simple startle pattern which has been described so often but primarily studied by Strauss, who contributes two chapters to the volume. The startle pattern is the reaction of an individual to a sudden sound, whereby he blinks his eyes and goes through various contortions. Since contortions have been described in different ways by various reporters, it was thought that careful study of the simple phenomenon would be revealing, as it proved to be. The technic used was to take extremely rapid moving pictures, sometimes reaching two or three thousand exposures per second, and to do this a number of technical details had to be overcome. While the authors did not go into the detailed solution of these problems, it is possible, by reading

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