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Intrusive memories of trauma: A target for research bridging cognitive science and its clinical application.
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2019 (English)In: Clinical Psychology Review, ISSN 0272-7358, E-ISSN 1873-7811, Vol. 69, p. 67-82, article id S0272-7358(17)30395-1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Intrusive memories of a traumatic event can be distressing and disruptive, and comprise a core clinical feature of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Intrusive memories involve mental imagery-based impressions that intrude into mind involuntarily, and are emotional. Here we consider how recent advances in cognitive science have fueled our understanding of the development and possible treatment of intrusive memories of trauma. We conducted a systematic literature search in PubMed, selecting articles published from 2008 to 2018 that used the terms "trauma" AND ("intrusive memories" OR "involuntary memories") in their abstract or title. First, we discuss studies that investigated internal (neural, hormonal, psychophysiological, and cognitive) processes that contribute to intrusive memory development. Second, we discuss studies that targeted these processes using behavioural/pharmacological interventions to reduce intrusive memories. Third, we consider possible clinical implications of this work and highlight some emerging research avenues for treatment and prevention, supplemented by new data to examine some unanswered questions. In conclusion, we raise the possibility that intrusive memories comprise an alternative, possibly more focused, target in translational research endeavours, rather than only targeting overall symptoms of disorders such as PTSD. If so, relatively simple approaches could help to address the need for easy-to-deliver, widely-scalable trauma interventions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 69, p. 67-82, article id S0272-7358(17)30395-1
Keywords [en]
Cognitive science, Intrusive memory, Mental imagery, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Psychological trauma, Treatment innovation
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-404009DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2018.08.005PubMedID: 30293686OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-404009DiVA, id: diva2:1392477
Available from: 2020-02-07 Created: 2020-02-07 Last updated: 2020-02-17Bibliographically approved

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