Activating Attachments Reduces Memories of Traumatic Images
AuthorBryant, RA; Foord, R
Source TitlePLoS One
PublisherPUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
University of Melbourne Author/sBryant, Richard
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBryant, R. A. & Foord, R. (2016). Activating Attachments Reduces Memories of Traumatic Images. PLOS ONE, 11 (9), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0162550.
Access StatusOpen Access
Emotional memories, and especially intrusive memories, are a common feature of many psychological disorders, and are overconsolidated by stress. Attachment theory posits that activation of mental representations of attachment figures can reduce stress and boost coping. This study tested the proposition that attachment activation would reduce consolidation of emotional and intrusive memories. Sixty-seven undergraduate students viewed subliminal presentations of traumatic and neutral images, which were preceded by subliminal presentations of either attachment-related images or non-attachment-related images; free recall and intrusive memories were assessed two days later. Participants with low avoidant attachment tendencies who received the attachment primes recalled fewer memories and reported fewer intrusions than those who received the non-attachment primes. Unexpectedly, those with high anxious attachment tendencies reported fewer memories. These findings generally accord with attachment theory, and suggest that consolidation of emotional memories can be moderated by activation of attachment representations.
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