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.
Rubin, Mikael; Hien, Denise A.; Das, Dipanjana; and Melara, Robert D., "Inhibitory Control under Threat: The Role of Spontaneous Eye Blinks in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" (2017). CUNY Academic Works.