Eye movements enhance recollection of re-imagined negative words: A link between EMDR and SIRE?
Do eye movements primarily affect emotion, as in Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR), or memory retrieval, as in Saccade-Induced Retrieval Enhancement (SIRE)? Despite growing confidence in the effectiveness of the former, the latter memory effect is sometimes not replicated. I argue here that the memory enhancement due to eye movements can be obtained, when conditions are made more similar to EMDR: a) participants are explicitly instructed to retrieve and re-imagine the memories during the eye movements, and b) emotionally negative material is involved. An exploratory memory experiment is presented that compares horizontal eye-movement and eye-fixation conditions. Mixed lists of positive, neutral, and negative words were studied and explicitly recollected during the eye manipulation. Results showed evidence for enhanced recollection due to eye movements, with a large effect size specifically for negative words. The crosstalk between these different domains may not only be helpful for gaining a better understanding of SIRE but also for improving the effectiveness of EMDR.
Original Work Citation
Phaf, R. H. (2017, July). Eye movements enhance recollection of re-imagined negative words: A link between EMDR and SIRE? Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
“Eye movements enhance recollection of re-imagined negative words: A link between EMDR and SIRE?,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 22, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/24720.