Eyewitness or earwitness: The role of mental imagery in intrusion development
until further notice
Number of pages
SourceInternational Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 4, 2, (2011), pp. 154-164
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI KLP
International Journal of Cognitive Therapy
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment
Current cognitive theories of posttramatic stress disorder explain the development of intrusive visual images according to the encoding of the perceptual (visual) information of the traumatic event. However, recent studies have, under controlled circumstances, shown that visual intrusive images can also develop from listening to a verbal trauma report. Posttraumatic stress symptoms resulting from seeing versus listening to a trauma were compared to help elucidate possible working mechanisms. Participants were randomly assigned to a film group or an imagery group. Participants in the film group were shown a trauma film of traffic accidents, whereas participants in the imagery group listened to a verbal report of this film and imagined the scenes. The main finding was that a preference for visual processing was positively related to intrusion frequency in the imagery condition but not in the film condition. In addition, participants in the imagery condition reported more avoidance and negative cognitions about the world after 1 week. Limitations and implications for the etiology and treatment of intrusive traumatic memories are discussed.
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