Spontaneous eyeblinks have been indirectly related to central dopaminergic activity in both human and animal studies. This relationship provides a potentially new technique for studying the role of dopamine in defining personality traits and psychiatric disorders. The purposes of the present study were to determine: (1) if a relationship exists between impulsiveness and blink rate; (2) if blink rate varies with psychophysiological demands. Eyeblinks were recorded during the performance of an augmenting/reducing event related potential (ERP) task and during an oddball ERP paradigm designed to study P300 and late ERP components. The results indicate that eyeblink rate: (1) is significantly related to motor impulsiveness; (2) varies with task demands. There were no task-impulsiveness interactions. Although the bulk of recent research relating neural transmitters to impulsiveness emphasizes a causal role for low serotonin, the current results suggest that this may be an oversimplification.
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