Forgetting traumatic stimuli

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Title: Forgetting traumatic stimuli
Author: DePrince, Anne P.; Freyd, Jennifer J.
Abstract: Previous work reported in this journal (DePrince & Freyd, 1999) suggested that the cognitive capacities of high dissociators are impaired under conditions of focused (selective) attention, but not under conditions of divided attention, compared to low dissociators. Using a directed forgetting paradigm, the current study demonstrates that under divided-attention demands high dissociators have impaired memory for words associated with trauma (e.g. "incest") but not neutral words, as compared with low dissociators. In addition, the high dissociators report significantly more trauma history and significantly more "betrayal trauma" (abuse by a caregiver). These results are consistent with the proposal that dissociation may aid individuals with a history of betrayal traumas to keep threatening information out of awareness.
Description: This is a preprint of an Article accepted for publication in Psychological Science © 2003 American Psychological Society
Date: 2004-02-20

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