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Title page for ETD etd-05302013-142615

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Fan, Qianqian
URN etd-05302013-142615
Title Effects of visuospatial and verbal processing on traumatic intrusions
Degree Master of Arts
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Andrew Tomarken Committee Chair
Bunmi Olatunji Committee Member
David Zald Committee Member
Sean Polyn Committee Member
  • DRT
  • PTSD
  • intrusions
  • anxiety sensitivity
Date of Defense 2013-05-01
Availability unrestricted
The present study tested predictions derived from the Dual Representation Theory (DRT) of memory intrusions in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It was hypothesized that engagement in a visuospatial task after watching a trauma film would result in a reduction in intrusions and better intentional memory recall relative to a verbal and non-task control conditions, and that engagement in a verbal task would have opposite effects. The present study further examined the effects of visuospatial and verbal tasks on trauma-related memory when these tasks were matched in difficulty and engagement levels. In Study 1, participants in visuospatial, verbal, and control conditions were presented with a trauma film. Then they were asked to record intrusions over a one-week period and their intentional memory recall was assessed one week later. Contrary to predictions, the three conditions failed to differ significantly on intrusions or intentional memory recall. Study 2 attempted to replicate more directly prior findings by using the visuospatial task ¡®Tetris¡¯ that has been used successfully in prior studies. In contrast to hypothesis and previous research, there were no between-condition differences in intrusions. Exploratory analyses in Study 1 and Study 2 did reveal significant positive relations between anxiety sensitivity and PTSD symptoms, even after controlling for depression and trait anxiety. The findings implicating anxiety sensitivity in PTSD are discussed in the context of treatment and prevention efforts. Discussion focuses on the implications of the inconsistent experimental findings for an evaluation of the validity of the DRT.
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