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Contextual representations of negative images modulate intrusion frequency in an intrusion provocation paradigm

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posted on 2023-08-30, 14:09 authored by Julie Krans, David G. Pearson, Barbara Maier, Michelle L. Moulds
Background and objectives: To understand how memories of negative events become highly accessible in the context of trauma, we tested the hypothesis that contextual information modulates how easily intrusions can be provoked by perceptual stimuli. Methods: Healthy participants viewed pictures depicting trauma scenes either with or without accompanying moderate (i.e. survival, recovery) or severe (i.e. fatality, permanent injury) outcome information. All participants viewed the same depictions of trauma scenes. Involuntary memories for the pictures were assessed using self-report diaries and an adapted version of the Impact of Event Scales (IES). A blurred picture perceptual priming paradigm was adapted to be used as an intrusion provocation task. Results: The severe outcome group experienced a significantly higher frequency of intrusions on the intrusion provocation task in comparison to both moderate outcome and control (no-context) conditions. The severe outcome condition did not increase intrusions on the self-report diaries or the adapted IES. There was no effect of condition on ratings for the emotionality, self-relevance, valence, or seriousness of the trauma scenes. Limitations: The analogue method should not be generalized directly to incidences of real-life trauma. It was unclear why differences in intrusion frequency were found in the provocation task only. The relative amount of individual conceptual and data-driven processing adopted by the participants was not assessed. Conclusions: Manipulating contextual information that determines the meaning of sensory-perceptual features for a trauma scene can modulate subsequent intrusion frequency in response to visually similar cues.



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Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry





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  • eng

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ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)

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