Article: Source memory errors associated with repo...

The qualities of flashbacks could under certain circumstances lead to source memory errors. Participants with PTSD wrote a trauma narrative and reported the experience of flashbacks. They were later presented with stimuli from flashback and non-flashback parts of their narrative, mixed with foils from the narrative of another participant, and judged whether they belonged to their own narrative. They also reported whether stimuli elicited a flashback during this recognition test. Overall reporting a flashback at test was associated with significantly better recognition performance. Flashbacks were occasionally reported to foil stimuli, which were then likely to be wrongly attributed to the person’s own narrative. This provides proof of concept of a cognitiv mechanism that could potentially account for some cases of false trauma memories.

 

Brewin, C. R., Huntley, Z., & Whalley, M. G. (2012). Source memory errors associated with reports of posttraumatic flashbacks: A proof of concept study. Cognition, 124(2), 234–238. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2012.05.002