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Is it mere distraction? Peri-traumatic verbal tasks can increase analogue flashbacks but reduce voluntary memory performance

Bourne, C; Frasquilho, F; Roth, AD; Holmes, EA; (2010) Is it mere distraction? Peri-traumatic verbal tasks can increase analogue flashbacks but reduce voluntary memory performance. J BEHAV THER EXP PSY , 41 (3) 316 - 324. 10.1016/j.jbtep.2010.03.001.

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Abstract

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.

Type: Article
Title: Is it mere distraction? Peri-traumatic verbal tasks can increase analogue flashbacks but reduce voluntary memory performance
DOI: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2010.03.001
Keywords: Intrusive memories, Trauma film, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Peri-traumatic processing, Cognitive mechanisms, POSTTRAUMATIC-STRESS-DISORDER, WORKING-MEMORY, AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORIES, INTRUSIVE MEMORIES, EPISODIC MEMORY, EYE-MOVEMENTS, FILM, DISSOCIATION, SYMPTOMS, PTSD
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/81693
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