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Heart rate, startle response, and intrusive trauma memories


Chou, Chia-Ying; La Marca, Roberto; Steptoe, Andrew; Brewin, Chris R (2014). Heart rate, startle response, and intrusive trauma memories. Psychophysiology, 51(3):236-46.

Abstract

The current study adopted the trauma film paradigm to examine potential moderators affecting heart rate (HR) as an indicator of peritraumatic psychological states and as a predictor of intrusive memories. We replicated previous findings that perifilm HR decreases predicted the development of intrusive images and further showed this effect to be specific to images rather than thoughts, and to detail rather than gist recognition memory. Moreover, a group of individuals showing both an atypical sudden reduction in HR after a startle stimulus and higher trait dissociation was identified. Only among these individuals was lower perifilm HR found to indicate higher state dissociation, fear, and anxiety, along with reduced vividness of intrusions. The current findings emphasize how peritraumatic physiological responses relate to emotional reactions and intrusive memory. The moderating role of individual difference in stress defense style was highlighted.

Abstract

The current study adopted the trauma film paradigm to examine potential moderators affecting heart rate (HR) as an indicator of peritraumatic psychological states and as a predictor of intrusive memories. We replicated previous findings that perifilm HR decreases predicted the development of intrusive images and further showed this effect to be specific to images rather than thoughts, and to detail rather than gist recognition memory. Moreover, a group of individuals showing both an atypical sudden reduction in HR after a startle stimulus and higher trait dissociation was identified. Only among these individuals was lower perifilm HR found to indicate higher state dissociation, fear, and anxiety, along with reduced vividness of intrusions. The current findings emphasize how peritraumatic physiological responses relate to emotional reactions and intrusive memory. The moderating role of individual difference in stress defense style was highlighted.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Date:March 2014
Deposited On:28 Jan 2015 15:16
Last Modified:22 Dec 2017 21:28
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0048-5772
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/psyp.12176
PubMed ID:24397333

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