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Is it mere distraction?: Peri-traumatic verbal tasks can increase analogue flashbacks but reduce voluntary memory performance
Univ Oxford, Dept Psychiat, Warneford Hosp, Oxford OX3 7JX, England.
UCL, Res Dept Clin Educ & Hlth Psychol, London WC1E 6BT, England.
UCL, Res Dept Clin Educ & Hlth Psychol, London WC1E 6BT, England.
Univ Oxford, Dept Psychiat, Warneford Hosp, Oxford OX3 7JX, England.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7319-3112
2010 (English)In: Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, ISSN 0005-7916, E-ISSN 1873-7943, Vol. 41, no 3, p. 316-324Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Several experiments have shown that we can reduce the frequency of analogue flashbacks with competing tasks presented during a trauma film (i.e. peri-traumatically). A "distraction" hypothesis suggests that any competing task may reduce flashbacks due to distraction and/or a load on executive control. Alternatively, a "modality" hypothesis based on clinical models of PTSD suggests that certain tasks will not protect against intrusions (Experiment 1) and could actually increase them (Experiment 2). Experiment 1 contrasted two concurrent tasks, Verbal Interference (counting backwards in threes) and Visuospatial tapping, against a no-task Control condition during trauma film viewing. The Visuospatial group had significantly fewer intrusions of the film over 1-week than the Control group. Contrary to a distraction account, the Verbal Interference group did not show this effect. Using a larger sample. Experiment 2 showed that the Verbal Interference group (counting backwards in sevens) had more intrusions (and inferior voluntary memory) than no-task Controls. We propose that this is in line with a modality hypothesis concerning trauma flashbacks. Disrupting verbal/conceptual processing during trauma could be harmful for later flashbacks. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD , 2010. Vol. 41, no 3, p. 316-324
Keywords [en]
Intrusive memories, Trauma film, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Peri-traumatic processing, Cognitive mechanisms
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-405497DOI: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2010.03.001ISI: 000277482600021PubMedID: 20359691OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-405497DiVA, id: diva2:1403066
Available from: 2020-02-28 Created: 2020-02-28 Last updated: 2020-02-28

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