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Episodic memory, perceptual memory, and their interaction: foundations for a theory of posttraumatic stress disorder

Brewin, CR; (2014) Episodic memory, perceptual memory, and their interaction: foundations for a theory of posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychological Bulletin , 140 (1) pp. 69-97. 10.1037/a0033722. Green open access

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Abstract

A number of autobiographical memory theories and clinical theories of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) make claims that are different from standard views of memory and have been the subject of controversy. These claims include the existence of a long-term perceptual memory system supporting conscious experience separate to episodic memory; greater involvement of perceptual memory in the response to emotion-laden and personally meaningful events; increased perceptual memory intrusions accompanied by impaired episodic memory for the traumatic event among PTSD patients; and a lack of association, or inverse association, between indices of voluntary recall and involuntary images relating to the same traumatic materials. In this article I review current research on perceptual memory, which supports the presence of long-term representations that are selective or incomplete reflections of sensory input. The functional independence of perceptual and episodic memory is illustrated by research on verbal overshadowing but is most clearly exemplified by the strong evidence in favor of enhanced perceptual memory and impaired episodic memory in PTSD. Theoretical predictions concerning the relation between perceptual priming and the development of intrusive images, the effect of verbal versus visuospatial secondary tasks on intrusive trauma images, and the independence of voluntary and involuntary memory for the same materials have garnered widespread support. Reasons for the continuing controversy over traumatic memory are discussed, and some implications of the review for general theories of recall and recognition, clinical theories of PTSD, and "special mechanism" views of memory are set out.

Type: Article
Title: Episodic memory, perceptual memory, and their interaction: foundations for a theory of posttraumatic stress disorder
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1037/a0033722
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0033722
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2014 APA, all rights reserved. This article may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Keywords: Humans, Memory, Memory, Episodic, Perception, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1397285
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