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Computer Game Play Reduces Intrusive Memories of Experimental Trauma via Reconsolidation-Update Mechanisms
Cognit & Brain Sci Unit, Med Res Council, Cambridge CB2 7EF, England;Univ Oxford, Dept Psychiat, Oxford OX1 2JD, England.
Univ Oxford, Dept Zool, Oxford OX1 2JD, England;Univ Oxford, St Peters Coll, Oxford OX1 2JD, England.
Cognit & Brain Sci Unit, Med Res Council, Cambridge CB2 7EF, England.
Univ Oxford, Dept Psychiat, Oxford OX1 2JD, England.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2966-2281
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2015 (English)In: Psychological Science, ISSN 0956-7976, E-ISSN 1467-9280, Vol. 26, no 8, p. 1201-1215Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Memory of a traumatic event becomes consolidated within hours. Intrusive memories can then flash back repeatedly into the mind's eye and cause distress. We investigated whether reconsolidation-the process during which memories become malleable when recalled-can be blocked using a cognitive task and whether such an approach can reduce these unbidden intrusions. We predicted that reconsolidation of a reactivated visual memory of experimental trauma could be disrupted by engaging in a visuospatial task that would compete for visual working memory resources. We showed that intrusive memories were virtually abolished by playing the computer game Tetris following a memory-reactivation task 24 hr after initial exposure to experimental trauma. Furthermore, both memory reactivation and playing Tetris were required to reduce subsequent intrusions (Experiment 2), consistent with reconsolidation-update mechanisms. A simple, noninvasive cognitive-task procedure administered after emotional memory has already consolidated (i.e., > 24 hours after exposure to experimental trauma) may prevent the recurrence of intrusive memories of those emotional events.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC , 2015. Vol. 26, no 8, p. 1201-1215
Keywords [en]
intrusive memory, intrusions, reconsolidation, computer game, involuntary memory, trauma film, mental imagery, emotion, open data, open materials, EMILkeypub
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-405175DOI: 10.1177/0956797615583071ISI: 000359262700005PubMedID: 26133572OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-405175DiVA, id: diva2:1396832
Available from: 2020-02-26 Created: 2020-02-26 Last updated: 2020-03-13

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Holmes, Emily A.

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