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Title: Psychophysiological processes involved in traumatic memory
Author: Chou, C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 9765
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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The pathways through which traumatic events are encoded into memory and subsequently retrieved affect the development of posttraumatic symptoms such as intrusion, as well as recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This thesis examined how cardiovascular and hormonal processes are related to memory processing. Individual differences in traumatic history, as well as two cardiovascular stress response features, startle heart rate (sHR) and cardiac defence response (CDR), were investigated in this context as predictors and moderators. Relevant literature and the methods are reviewed in Chapter One and Chapter Two respectively. Chapter Three and Four adopted the trauma film paradigm to assess the memory encoding phase of trauma. The former found a dominant vagal activation during the analogue trauma, and identified a subgroup, in whom relationships between the psychological and physiological measures were different from the rest of the sample. The latter found increases in cortisol, and decreases in salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) levels, in response to the trauma film. Lower cortisol levels predicted greater vividness of intrusions. Individual differences in CDR and sAA levels moderated the relationship between cortisol and the frequency of intrusions. Chapters Five and Six examined PTSD patients’ psychological and physiological reactions to voluntary retrieval of traumatic memories. Significant relationships between HR decreases and overall negative psychological states were found in the former. Associations between greater dissociation and a smaller suppression of cortisol were found in the latter. An overall discussion regarding the psychological and physiological activities at the memory encoding and retrieval phases, as well as the roles of trauma history, sHR and CDR in moderating these responses, are presented in Chapter Seven.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available