Complementary Medicine Research DOI: 10.1159/000497188
Research Article
The Impact of Using Emotionally Arousing Stimuli on Muscle Response Testing Accuracy
Anne M. Jensen, Richard J. Stevens, Amanda J. Burls


Introduction: Muscle response testing (MRT) is an assessment method used by 1 million practitioners worldwide, yet its usefulness remains uncertain. The aim of this study, one in a series assessing the accuracy of MRT, was to determine whether emotionally arousing stimuli influence its accuracy compared to neutral stimuli.
Methods: To assess diagnostic test accuracy 20 MRT practitioners were paired with 20 test patients (TPs). Forty MRTs were performed as TPs made true and false statements about emotionally arousing and neutral pictures. Blocks of MRT alternated with blocks of intuitive guessing (IG).
Results: MRT accuracy using emotionally arousing stimuli was different than when using neutral stimuli. However, MRT accuracy was found to be significantly better than IG and chance. Similar to previous studies in this series, this study failed to detect any characteristics that consistently influenced MRT accuracy.
Conclusion: Using emotionally arousing stimuli had no effect on MRT accuracy compared to using neutral stimuli. This study would have been strengthened by adding personally relevant lies instead of impersonal stimuli. A limitation of this study is its lack of generalizability to other applications of MRT. This study shows that a simple yet robust methodology for assessing MRT as a diagnostic tool can be implemented effectively.