Intrusive memories of trauma in the laboratory: Methodological developments and future directions

17 Jan 2018

Purpose of the review: Intrusive memories are those that spring to mind unbidden, e.g., 19 sensory recollections of stressful/traumatic events. We review recent methods to monitor 20 intrusions of a stressor within the laboratory, which open up additional approaches for 21 experimental psychopathology research on intrusive symptom development, persistence and 22 mitigation. 23 Recent findings: Recent studies suggest three main methodologies after viewing a trauma 24 film by which to monitor intrusions in the laboratory: during post-film rest periods, after 25 exposure to trigger cues, and while performing an ongoing task. With these approaches, 26 factors (e.g., psychological or pharmacological) that may influence the frequency of 27 occurrence of intrusions can be tested. 28 Summary: We highlight methodological considerations to guide experimental design using 29 intrusion monitoring in the laboratory, which complement monitoring approaches in daily life 30 (e.g., diaries). Such designs confer greater experimental control for trauma film studies and 31 open novel research avenues, which may inform intervention development to mitigate 32 problematic intrusive memory symptoms.