Clinical observations suggest that re-experiencing symptoms are triggered by stimuli that are perceptually similar to those present shortly before the trauma or its worst moments. Two experiments investigated the possible role of perceptual priming in this phenomenon. Volunteers (N = 28, N = 62) watched a series of "traumatic" and neutral picture stories, and completed blurred object identification (priming) and recognition memory tasks. Neutral objects that immediately preceded the "traumatic" stories were more strongly primed, but not better recognised, than objects from neutral stories. Enhanced priming predicted subsequent re-experiencing symptoms. The results support the role of perceptual priming in re-experiencing.

Original publication

DOI

10.1080/09658210500305876

Type

Journal article

Journal

Memory

Publication Date

04/2006

Volume

14

Pages

316 - 328

Keywords

Adolescent, Adult, Association, Attention, Conditioning (Psychology), Cues, Emotions, Female, Humans, Male, Mental Recall, Psychological Tests, Recognition (Psychology), Stress, Psychological, Surveys and Questionnaires, Visual Perception