Ready and waiting: Freezing as active action preparation under threat

Gladwin, T. E., Hashemi, M. M., van Ast, V. and Roelofs, K. (2016) Ready and waiting: Freezing as active action preparation under threat. Neuroscience Letters, 619. pp. 182-188. ISSN 0304-3940

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Freezing is a defensive response characterized by rigidity and bradycardia, but it is unclear whether
it is a passive versus active preparatory state. We developed a shooting task in which preparation and
threat were manipulated independently: Participants were either helpless or able to respond to a possible
upcoming attack, and attacks were either associated with an electric shock or not. Essentially, a purely
anticipatory preparatory period was used during which no stimuli occurred. Freezing was assessed during
this period. In addition to heart rate, body sway was measured, using a stabilometric force platform. The
efficacy of the threat manipulation was confirmed via self-report. The ability to prepare led to decreases
in heart rate and postural sway, while threat led to decreased heart rate. Further, exploratory analyses
suggested that aggressive participants showed reduced initial freezing for threatening opponents, but
increased postural freezing when armed. The results suggest that freezing may involve active preparation.
Relations to results in passive viewing tasks are discussed.

Publication Type: Articles
Uncontrolled Keywords: Body sway, Immobility, Freezing, Threat, Preparation, Aggression
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Research Entities > POWER Centre
Academic Areas > Institute of Education, Social and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Thomas Gladwin
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2019 10:19
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2019 10:19

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