What is the definition of Jumping Frenchmen of Maine?

Jumping Frenchmen of Maine is a condition characterized by an unusually extreme startle response. The exact cause of the condition is unknown. One theory is that the disorder occurs because of an extreme conditioned response to a particular situation influenced by cultural factors. It was first identified during the late nineteenth century in Maine and the Canadian province of Quebec in an isolated population of lumberjacks of French Canadian descent. Jumping Frenchmen of Maine is a type of startle-matching syndrome. These syndromes have been described in many different parts of the world.

What are the alternative names for Jumping Frenchmen of Maine?

  • Exaggerated startle reflex
  • Startle disease
  • 'jumpers' of Maine

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