Dual-tasking during recall of negative memories or during visual perception of images: Effects on vividness and emotionality

Description

Background and objectives:
Several treatments are effective in reducing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. We tested the effectiveness of an experimental intervention that consists of elements from two of these: virtual reality (VR) exposure therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. The latter is characterized by a dual-task approach: the patient holds a traumatic memory in mind while simultaneously making voluntary eye movements, resulting in reduced vividness and emotionality of the traumatic memory. If the experimental intervention is effective, it could provide a useful approach for highly avoidant individuals.

Methods:
Participants recalled negative memories induced by a VR paradigm. The experimental group viewed VR screenshots that represented these negative memories while carrying out a dual-task. One control group recalled negative memories while carrying out the same dual-task (a standard dual-task condition) and another merely viewed the VR screenshots. Pre-to-post changes in self-rated memory vividness/emotionality were measured.

Results:
The results indicate that viewing a screenshot only was outperformed by both dual-task interventions in terms of reductions in vividness/emotionality. Furthermore, the dual-task interventions had a comparable impact on vividness, but the screenshot variant led to greater decreases in emotionality.

Limitations:
Changes in memory vividness/emotionality were only assessed shortly after the interventions and no measures of avoidance behavior were included in the study.

Conclusions:
Looking at an image in VR that represents a memory while carrying out a dual-task may be at least as effective as recalling the memory during the dual-task. Interestingly, visually supporting a negative memory does not seem to prevent memory degrading by dual-tasking.

Format

Journal

Language

English

Author(s)

Anne A. Cuperus
Maarten Laken
Kevin van Schie
Iris M. Engelhard
Marcel A. van den Hout

Original Work Citation

Cuperus, A. A., Laken, M., van Schie, K., Engelhard, I. M., & van den Hour, M. A. (2019, March). Dual-tasking during recall of negative memories or during visual perception of images: Effects on vividness and emotionality. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 62, 112-116. doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2018.10.003

Collection

Citation

“Dual-tasking during recall of negative memories or during visual perception of images: Effects on vividness and emotionality,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed December 2, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/25705.

Output Formats