Effects of visuospatial tasks on desensitization to emotive memories

Kavanagh, D. J., Freese, S., Andrade, J. and May, J. (2001) Effects of visuospatial tasks on desensitization to emotive memories. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 40 3: 267-280. doi:10.1348/014466501163689

Author Kavanagh, D. J.
Freese, S.
Andrade, J.
May, J.
Title Effects of visuospatial tasks on desensitization to emotive memories
Journal name British Journal of Clinical Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0144-6657
Publication date 2001-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1348/014466501163689
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 40
Issue 3
Start page 267
End page 280
Total pages 14
Editor Stephen Morley
M. Adams et al
Place of publication Leicester, UK
Publisher The British Psychological Society
Language eng
Subject C1
321021 Psychiatry
730211 Mental health
Abstract Objectives. Intrusive memories of extreme trauma can disrupt a stepwise approach to imaginal exposure. Concurrent tasks that load the visuospatial sketchpad (VSSP) of working memory reduce the vividness of recalled images. This study tested whether relief of distress from competing VSSP tasks during imaginal exposure is at the cost of impaired desensitization. Design. This study examined repeated exposure to emotive memories using 18 unselected undergraduates and a within-subjects design with three exposure conditions (Eye Movement, Visual Noise, Exposure Alone) in random, counterbalanced order. Method. At baseline, participants recalled positive and negative experiences, and rated the vividness and emotiveness of each image. A different positive and negative recollection was then used for each condition. Vividness and emotiveness were rated after each of eight exposure trials. At a post-exposure session 1 week later, participants rated each image without any concurrent task. Results. Consistent with previous research, vividness and distress during imaging were lower during Eye Movements than in Exposure Alone, with passive visual interference giving intermediate results. A reduction in emotional responses from Baseline to Post was of similar size for the three conditions. Conclusion. Visuospatial tasks may offer a temporary response aid for imaginal exposure without affecting desensitization.
Keyword Psychology, Clinical
Eye-movement Desensitization
Reprocessing Emdr
Exposure Treatment
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 85 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 02:11:46 EST