ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 3, Issue 3, 368-392, 2012
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The Effects of Expressive and Experiential Suppression on Memory Accuracy and Memory Distortion in Women with and Without PTSD

Sally A. Moore & Lori A. Zoellner
Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Volume 3, Issue 3, 2012, Pages 368-392

Specific emotion regulation strategies impinge on cognitive resources, impairing memory accuracy; however, their effects on memory distortion have been largely unexamined. Further, little is known about the effects of emotion regulation on memory in individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), who exhibit both emotion regulation and memory difficulties. We examined the effects of expressive suppression (i.e., concealing visible signs of emotion), experiential suppression (i.e., suppressing the subjective emotional experience), and control instructions on memory accuracy and distortion in trauma-exposed individuals with PTSD, those without PTSD, and psychologically healthy controls. Expressive and, to a lesser degree, experiential suppression led to poorer memory accuracy and both expressive and experiential suppression led to less memory distortion compared to control instructions. Participants with and without PTSD did not significantly differ. Under high cognitive load, irrelevant details may receive more processing, potentially leading to lower accuracy but improved processing of source information, preventing memory distortion.

Table of Contents
Memory Distortion Task
Film presentation.
Misinformation narrative.
Multiple choice test (immediate, 48 hours).
Suppression Instructions
State Emotion Measures and Manipulation Check
Effects of Emotion Regulation Instruction on State Emotion
Effects of Emotion Regulation Instructions on Memory Performance Across PTSD, no PTSD, and Controls
Effects on correct responses.
Correct responses at the immediate film memory test.
Correct responses at the delayed film memory test.
Effects on incorrect responses.
Incorrect responses at the immediate film memory test.
Incorrect responses at the delayed film memory test.
Number Needed to See an Effect for PTSD on Memory Accuracy and Distortion
Appendix A: Misinformation Narratives
Appendix B: Example Film Memory Test Items

Correspondence to
Sally Moore, Ph.D., Evidence Based Treatment Centers of Seattle and University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 1200 Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Seattle, WA 98101.

Emotion regulation, memory, memory distortion, suppression, PTSD

Received 15 Mar 2011; Revised 26 Oct 2011; Accepted 28 Oct 2011; In Press 23 Apr 2012

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