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Title: Post-traumatic stress disorder and allocentric spatial memory
Author: Smith , Kirsten V.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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A recent Dual Representation Model of intrusive memory proposes that intrusions reflect involuntary reactivation of egocentric/hippocampally dependent representations in the absence of a corresponding allocentric/hippocampally independent representation (Brewin, Gergory, Lipton, & Burgess, 20 I 0). We investigated allocentric processing, following trauma, and examined whether PTSD sufferers have impaired performance indicative of reduced hippocampal functioning. Trauma-exposed individuals with (N=29) and without a diagnosis of PTSD (N=29) completed two tests of allocentric spatial processing. The first, a topographical recognition task comprising perception and memory components. The second, a virtual environment in which objects are presented and recognition memory is tested from either the same viewpoint as presentation (tapping egocentric memory) or a different viewpoint (tapping alloeentric memory). Participants in the PTSD group performed significantly worse on both tests of allocentric spatial processing than trauma-exposed controls. Groups performed comparably on egocentric memory and a non-spatial memory task of object list learning. These results show an unambiguous impairment in hippocampally dependent cognitive processes. As predicted by the Dual Representation Theory-Revised those with PTSD display impaired allocentric processing indicative of reduced hippocampal function . The clinical and research implications of this result will be discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available