Directed forgetting in PTSD: a comparative study versus normal controls. Cottencin, O., Vaiva, G., Huron, C., Devos, P., Ducrocq, F., Jouvent, R., Goudemand, M., & Thomas, P. Journal of psychiatric research, 40(1):70–80, February, 2006.
doi  abstract   bibtex   
The most characteristic feature of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the reexperiencing syndrome. The patient's memory seems to be fixed on the traumatic event, which may be due to disturbance of the autobiographic memory. To retrieve memories, others have to be inhibited. These inhibition mechanisms have been studied using the Directed Forgetting Paradigm, which measures the capacity to forget recently processed information and to retain the relevant information. Our hypothesis is that during PTSD, the memory is saturated with traumatic memories, so that the patients are no longer able to use the inhibitory processes. Therefore, during a Directed Forgetting Task (DFT) in which words "to remember" and words "to forget" are given, PTSD patients cannot inhibit the words "to forget", and so recall more words than the controls. We studied 30 patients with PTSD and compared them with 30 healthy controls, using DFT. The results show that the patients remembered significantly fewer words overall, and fewer of the words "to remember" than the controls, both for immediate and final recall. Our results are in favor of a reduction in directed forgetting in patients suffering from PTSD, resulting in difficulty in inhibiting irrelevant information from the overall information. There seems to be a deficit in the inhibitory processes in the memory in PTSD.
@article{cottencin_directed_2006,
	title = {Directed forgetting in {PTSD}: a comparative study versus normal controls.},
	volume = {40},
	issn = {0022-3956 0022-3956},
	doi = {10.1016/j.jpsychires.2005.04.001},
	abstract = {The most characteristic feature of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the reexperiencing syndrome. The patient's memory seems to be fixed on the traumatic  event, which may be due to disturbance of the autobiographic memory. To retrieve  memories, others have to be inhibited. These inhibition mechanisms have been studied using the Directed Forgetting Paradigm, which measures the capacity to forget recently processed information and to retain the relevant information. Our hypothesis is that during PTSD, the memory is saturated with traumatic memories,  so that the patients are no longer able to use the inhibitory processes. Therefore, during a Directed Forgetting Task (DFT) in which words "to remember" and words "to forget" are given, PTSD patients cannot inhibit the words "to forget", and so recall more words than the controls. We studied 30 patients with  PTSD and compared them with 30 healthy controls, using DFT. The results show that the patients remembered significantly fewer words overall, and fewer of the words "to remember" than the controls, both for immediate and final recall. Our results are in favor of a reduction in directed forgetting in patients suffering from PTSD, resulting in difficulty in inhibiting irrelevant information from the overall information. There seems to be a deficit in the inhibitory processes in the memory in PTSD.},
	language = {eng},
	number = {1},
	journal = {Journal of psychiatric research},
	author = {Cottencin, O. and Vaiva, G. and Huron, C. and Devos, P. and Ducrocq, F. and Jouvent, R. and Goudemand, M. and Thomas, P.},
	month = feb,
	year = {2006},
	pmid = {15907941},
	keywords = {Humans, Adult, Female, Male, Middle Aged, Treatment Outcome, *Inhibition (Psychology), *Attention, *Mental Recall, Life Change Events, Memory, Short-Term, Neuropsychological Tests/statistics \& numerical data, Psychometrics, Reference Values, Retention (Psychology), Set (Psychology), Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/diagnosis/psychology/*therapy, Verbal Learning},
	pages = {70--80}
}
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