ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 8, Issue 4, 364-375, 2017
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Eye movements enhance recollection of re-imagined negative words: A link between EMDR and SIRE?

  R. Hans Phaf - University of Amsterdam

Volume 8, Issue 4, 2017, Pages 364-375

Do eye movements primarily affect emotion, as in Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR), or memory retrieval, as in Saccade-Induced Retrieval Enhancement (SIRE)? Despite growing confidence in the effectiveness of the former, the latter memory effect is sometimes not replicated. I argue here that the memory enhancement due to eye movements can be obtained, when conditions are made more similar to EMDR: a) participants are explicitly instructed to retrieve and re-imagine the memories during the eye movements, and b) emotionally negative material is involved. An exploratory memory experiment is presented that compares horizontal eye-movement and eye-fixation conditions. Mixed lists of positive, neutral, and negative words were studied and explicitly recollected during the eye manipulation. Results showed evidence for enhanced recollection due to eye movements, with a large effect size specifically for negative words. The crosstalk between these different domains may not only be helpful for gaining a better understanding of SIRE but also for improving the effectiveness of EMDR.

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Correspondence to
Dr. R. Hans Phaf

Eye Movements, EMDR, SIRE, Memory vs. Emotion, Re-imagining during Eye Manipulation

Received 7 Oct 2016; Revised 2 Jun 2017; Accepted 2 Jun 2017; In Press 22 Jul 2017

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