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Reduced Memory Coherence for Negative Events and Its Relationship to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Bisby, JA; Burgess, N; Brewin, CR; (2020) Reduced Memory Coherence for Negative Events and Its Relationship to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Current Directions in Psychological Science , 29 (3) pp. 267-272. 10.1177/0963721420917691. Green open access

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Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by disruptions in memory, including vivid sensory images of the trauma that are involuntarily reexperienced. However, the extent and nature of disruptions to deliberate memory for trauma remain controversial. A unitary account posits that all aspects of memory for a traumatic event are strengthened. In contrast, a dual-representation account proposes up-modulation of sensory and affective representations of the negative content and down-modulation of hippocampal representations of the context in which the event occurred. We take a neuroscientific approach and review the literature concerning the mechanisms required to produce coherent episodic memories and how they are affected in experiments involving negative content. We find, in healthy volunteers, that negative content can reduce associative binding and the coherence of episodic memories. Finally, we bring these findings together with the literature on PTSD to highlight how similar associative mechanisms are affected in patients, consistent with hippocampal impairment, supporting a dual-representation view of disrupted memory coherence.

Type: Article
Title: Reduced Memory Coherence for Negative Events and Its Relationship to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0963721420917691
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963721420917691
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: posttraumatic stress disorder, memory, flashbacks, coherence, hippocampus, amygdala
UCL classification: UCL
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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10102616
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