Trauma Films, Information Processing, and Intrusive Memory Development

Psychology Department, Royal Holloway, University of London, London, United Kingdom.
Journal of Experimental Psychology General (Impact Factor: 5.5). 03/2004; 133(1):3-22. DOI: 10.1037/0096-3445.133.1.3
Source: PubMed


Three experiments indexed the effect of various concurrent tasks, while watching a traumatic film, on intrusive memory development. Hypotheses were based on the dual-representation theory of posttraumatic stress disorder (C. R. Brewin, T. Dalgleish, & S. Joseph, 1996). Nonclinical participants viewed a trauma film under various encoding conditions and recorded any spontaneous intrusive memories of the film over the following week in a diary. Changes in state dissociation, heart rate, and mood were also measured. As predicted, performing a visuospatial pattern tapping task at encoding significantly reduced the frequency of later intrusions, whereas a verbal distraction task increased them. Intrusive memories were largely unrelated to recall and recognition measures. Increases in dissociation and decreases in heart rate during the film were also associated with later intrusions.

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    • "For seven days after the film, the participant recorded film-related intrusions on a paper tabular diary (cf. Brewin & Saunders, 2001; Hagenaars & Arntz, 2012; Holmes, Brewin, & Hennessy, 2004). The diary consisted of rows (part of the day, reporting all information of a particular intrusion on one line) and columns (information about the characteristics of the intrusion). "
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    ABSTRACT: During imagery rescripting (ImRs) an aversive memory is relived and transformed to have a more positive outcome. ImRs is frequently applied in psychological treatment and is known to reduce intrusions and distress of the memory. However, little is known about the necessity to incorporate the central aversive parts of the memory in ImRs. To examine this necessity one hundred participants watched an aversive film and were subsequently randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions: ImRs including the aversive scenes (Late ImRs), ImRs without the aversive scenes (Early ImRs), imaginal exposure (IE) or a control condition (Cont). Participants in the IE intervention reported the highest distress levels during the intervention; Cont resulted in the lowest levels of self-reported distress. For the intrusion frequency, only the late ImRs resulted in fewer intrusions compared to the Cont condition; Early ImRs produced significantly more intrusions than the Late ImRs or IE condition. Finally, the intrusions of the Late ImRs condition were reported as less vivid compared to the other conditions. To conclude, it seems beneficial including aversive scenes in ImRs after an analogue trauma induction.
    Memory 06/2015; DOI:10.1080/09658211.2015.1043307 · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    • "For 7 days after the trauma induction , the participant recorded induction - related intrusions on a paper tabular diary ( cf . Brewin and Saunders , 2001 ; Holmes et al . , 2004 ; Hagenaars and Arntz , 2012 ) . They noted the content of each intrusion ( what was the intrusion about ? ) , the situation that triggered the intrusion , the valence of the emotion accompanying the intrusion , and the level of distress , vividness , control and spontaneity on a scale from 0 to 100 ( with 0 representing low levels and "
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    ABSTRACT: Most people are exposed to a violent or life-threatening situation during their lives, but only a minority develops post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Experimental studies are necessary to assess risk factors, such as imagery ability, for the development of PTSD. Up to now the trauma film paradigm (TFP) has functioned as an analogue for PTSD. This paradigm is known to induce involuntary intrusions, a core symptom of PTSD. Though useful, the film paradigm has a drawback, the participant remains an “outsider” and does not immerse in the film scenes. The aim of the present study was to develop a fitting virtual reality (VR) analogue for PTSD and to assess risk factors for the development of PTSD-symptoms, such as intrusions. To this end a novel VR paradigm was compared to the traditional TFP. Both the VR and TFP elicited a negative mood and induction-related intrusions. More immersion was observed in the VR paradigm compared to the TFP. The results of the risk factors were mixed; more imagery ability coincided with a higher intrusion frequency, but also with less distressing intrusions. The results, implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
    Frontiers in Psychology 05/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00681 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "Research suggests that memories that end up as flashbulb memories are psychophysiologically arousing, personally salient and unexpected and sudden (Brown & Kulik, 1977). Indeed, psychophysiology has been associated with intrusive memory development; at the time of viewing a specific film scene that is later recalled as an intrusive memory, heart rate has been shown to drop in comparison to the rest of film viewing (Chou, Marca, Steptoe, & Brewin, 2014; Holmes et al., 2004). Understanding the neural processes involved in intrusive memory formation adds another level of comprehension of this complex phenomenon. "
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    ABSTRACT: After psychological trauma, why do some only some parts of the traumatic event return as intrusive memories while others do not? Intrusive memories are key to cognitive behavioural treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, and an aetiological understanding is warranted. We present here analyses using multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) and a machine learning classifier to investigate whether peri-traumatic brain activation was able to predict later intrusive memories. To provide a methodological basis for understanding the context of the current results, we first show how functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during an experimental analogue of trauma (a trauma film) via a prospective event-related design was able to capture an individual’s intrusions in the real world. Results showed widespread increases in brain activation at encoding when viewing a scene that would later return as an intrusive memory. These fMRI results were replicated in a second separate study. While traditional mass univariate regression analysis highlighted an association between brain processing and symptomatology, this is not the same as prediction. Using MVPA and a machine learning classifier, it was possible to predict later intrusive memories across participants with 68% accuracy, and within a participant with 97% accuracy; i.e. the classifier could identify out of multiple scenes those that would later return as an intrusive memory. We also report here brain networks key in intrusive memory prediction. MVPA opens the possibility of decoding brain activity to reconstruct idiosyncratic cognitive events with relevance to mental health.
    Behaviour Research and Therapy 11/2014; 62. DOI:10.1016/j.brat.2014.07.010 · 3.85 Impact Factor
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