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The effects of trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on the emotion-induced memory trade-off.

Mickley Steinmetz KR, Scott LA, Smith D, Kensinger EA - Front Integr Neurosci (2012)

Bottom Line: Three groups of participants (25 with current PTSD, 27 who had experienced trauma but did not have current PTSD, and 25 controls who had neither experienced significant trauma nor met criteria for current PTSD) were shown complex visual scenes that included an item (positive, negative, or neutral) placed on a neutral background.An emotion-induced memory trade-off was said to occur when there was a significant difference in item and background memory for emotional scenes, but not for neutral scenes.These results suggest that (1) the effect of emotion on memory for visual scenes is similar in people with PTSD and control participants, and (2) people who have experienced trauma, but do not have PTSD, may have a different way of attending to and remembering visual scenes, exhibiting less of a memory trade-off than either control participants or people with PTSD.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill MA, USA.

ABSTRACT
Many past examinations of memory changes in individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have focused on changes in memory for trauma. However, it is unclear if these mnemonic differences extend beyond the memory of the trauma to memory for other positive and negative information and if they are specific to individuals with PTSD or extend to other individuals who have experienced trauma. The present study examined the influences of trauma exposure and PTSD on an effect that may parallel tunnel memory in PTSD: the emotion-induced memory trade-off, whereby emotional aspects of an experience are remembered at the expense of the nonemotional context. Three groups of participants (25 with current PTSD, 27 who had experienced trauma but did not have current PTSD, and 25 controls who had neither experienced significant trauma nor met criteria for current PTSD) were shown complex visual scenes that included an item (positive, negative, or neutral) placed on a neutral background. Forty-five minutes later, participants underwent a recognition memory test for the items and backgrounds separately. An emotion-induced memory trade-off was said to occur when there was a significant difference in item and background memory for emotional scenes, but not for neutral scenes. Results indicated that people with PTSD, like the other groups, were more likely to remember positive and negative items than neutral items. Moreover, people with PTSD exhibited a memory trade-off comparable in magnitude to that exhibited by the non-trauma control group. In contrast, trauma-exposed people without a current diagnosis of PTSD did not show a trade-off, because they remembered items within scenes better than their accompanying contexts not only for emotional but also for neutral scenes. These results suggest that (1) the effect of emotion on memory for visual scenes is similar in people with PTSD and control participants, and (2) people who have experienced trauma, but do not have PTSD, may have a different way of attending to and remembering visual scenes, exhibiting less of a memory trade-off than either control participants or people with PTSD.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Example stimuli from the study and test session.
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Figure 1: Example stimuli from the study and test session.

Mentions: Stimuli consisted of complex visual scenes that were created by placing images of positive, negative and neutral items onto neutral background scenes (see Figure 1). The stimulus set included objects and backgrounds used in prior studies (Kensinger et al., 2007a; Waring and Kensinger, 2009; Waring et al., 2010; Steinberger et al., 2011). Composite images were created by placing an item onto a plausible background scene. Care was taken to make sure that positive, negative, and neutral items were of comparable size and were placed in the same approximate location across scenes. Across emotion categories, scenes were also matched for visual complexity, congruency between item and background, and number of people, animals and buildings. Each picture was approximately 10 × 13 in. and 700 × 550 pixels.


The effects of trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on the emotion-induced memory trade-off.

Mickley Steinmetz KR, Scott LA, Smith D, Kensinger EA - Front Integr Neurosci (2012)

Example stimuli from the study and test session.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3375624&req=5

Figure 1: Example stimuli from the study and test session.
Mentions: Stimuli consisted of complex visual scenes that were created by placing images of positive, negative and neutral items onto neutral background scenes (see Figure 1). The stimulus set included objects and backgrounds used in prior studies (Kensinger et al., 2007a; Waring and Kensinger, 2009; Waring et al., 2010; Steinberger et al., 2011). Composite images were created by placing an item onto a plausible background scene. Care was taken to make sure that positive, negative, and neutral items were of comparable size and were placed in the same approximate location across scenes. Across emotion categories, scenes were also matched for visual complexity, congruency between item and background, and number of people, animals and buildings. Each picture was approximately 10 × 13 in. and 700 × 550 pixels.

Bottom Line: Three groups of participants (25 with current PTSD, 27 who had experienced trauma but did not have current PTSD, and 25 controls who had neither experienced significant trauma nor met criteria for current PTSD) were shown complex visual scenes that included an item (positive, negative, or neutral) placed on a neutral background.An emotion-induced memory trade-off was said to occur when there was a significant difference in item and background memory for emotional scenes, but not for neutral scenes.These results suggest that (1) the effect of emotion on memory for visual scenes is similar in people with PTSD and control participants, and (2) people who have experienced trauma, but do not have PTSD, may have a different way of attending to and remembering visual scenes, exhibiting less of a memory trade-off than either control participants or people with PTSD.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill MA, USA.

ABSTRACT
Many past examinations of memory changes in individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have focused on changes in memory for trauma. However, it is unclear if these mnemonic differences extend beyond the memory of the trauma to memory for other positive and negative information and if they are specific to individuals with PTSD or extend to other individuals who have experienced trauma. The present study examined the influences of trauma exposure and PTSD on an effect that may parallel tunnel memory in PTSD: the emotion-induced memory trade-off, whereby emotional aspects of an experience are remembered at the expense of the nonemotional context. Three groups of participants (25 with current PTSD, 27 who had experienced trauma but did not have current PTSD, and 25 controls who had neither experienced significant trauma nor met criteria for current PTSD) were shown complex visual scenes that included an item (positive, negative, or neutral) placed on a neutral background. Forty-five minutes later, participants underwent a recognition memory test for the items and backgrounds separately. An emotion-induced memory trade-off was said to occur when there was a significant difference in item and background memory for emotional scenes, but not for neutral scenes. Results indicated that people with PTSD, like the other groups, were more likely to remember positive and negative items than neutral items. Moreover, people with PTSD exhibited a memory trade-off comparable in magnitude to that exhibited by the non-trauma control group. In contrast, trauma-exposed people without a current diagnosis of PTSD did not show a trade-off, because they remembered items within scenes better than their accompanying contexts not only for emotional but also for neutral scenes. These results suggest that (1) the effect of emotion on memory for visual scenes is similar in people with PTSD and control participants, and (2) people who have experienced trauma, but do not have PTSD, may have a different way of attending to and remembering visual scenes, exhibiting less of a memory trade-off than either control participants or people with PTSD.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus