Physiological effects of eye movements of different speeds and eye fixation during engagement in negative autobiographical memories: Experimental research regarding EMDR

Description

The aim of the study was to explore the working mechanism of the bilateral stimulation component in EMDR in relation to current hypotheses. Physiological hypotheses (of orienting response and relaxation response) were tested in an analogous experimental setting. Moreover, the clinical advice to use different stimulation speeds for different phases of EMDR was examined at the autonomic level, exploring two different speeds of eye movements. In a within-subject design 42 female students performed 7 short sets each of rapid eye movements (1 Hz), slow eye movements (0.3 Hz) and eye fixation while engaging in negative autobiographical memories. Order of the tasks was counterbalanced. Electrooculogramm (EOG), electrocardiogramm, electrodermal activity and distal pulswave were recorded continuously. Skin conductance level (SCL), heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (RMSSD) and pulse wave transit time (PWTT) were calculated. Performance of the eye movement tasks were controlled through EOG. All three conditions showed a clear-cut de-arousal at stimulation onset, which was 30 indicated by a decrease in HR and SCL and an increase in RMSSD and PWTT. That means, fast and slow eye movements as well as eye fixation initiated a moderate, but clear relaxation response with increased parasympathetic and reduced sympathetic activity. These results suggest that the speed of eye movements do not influence autonomic functions. Furthermore, the results of this study do not support most of the current hypotheses regarding the working mechanism of the bilateral stimulation in EMDR. Alternative explanations are discussed.

Format

Conference

Language

English

Author(s)

Anna K. Kreyer
Stephan Egon

Original Work Citation

Kreyer, A. K., & Egon, S. (2008, June). Physiological effects of eye movements of different speeds and eye fixation during engagement in negative autobiographical memories: Experimental research regarding EMDR. Presentation at the 9th EMDR Europe Association Conference, London, England

Collection

Citation

“Physiological effects of eye movements of different speeds and eye fixation during engagement in negative autobiographical memories: Experimental research regarding EMDR,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 29, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/18251.

Output Formats