ISSN 2051-8315
Psychopathology Review
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 Volume 4, Issue 3, 218-243, 2017
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Information Processing in PTSD: Evidence for Biased Attentional, Interpretation, and Memory Processes

  Jessica Bomyea - University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry
  Alyson Johnson - University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry
  Ariel Lang - University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry

Volume 4, Issue 3, 2017, Pages 218-243


This comprehensive review aims to survey current literature on information processing biases in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In line with current work in the field, the review will be organized by information processing systems including attention, judgment and interpretation, and memory. Studies outlined suggest that these cognitive processes may be key factors involved in the development and maintenance of PTSD. However, inconsistencies exist in the literature within each domain, often depending on assessment format employed. Studies on attention bias demonstrate both facilitated engagement toward and difficulty disengaging from threatening stimuli. Literature on judgment and interpretation biases indicates that those with PTSD are more likely to interpret ambiguous situations as threatening, in addition to over-estimating subjective risk.  Memory studies reveal mixed findings; a number of studies found that those with PTSD exhibit a bias toward remembering threat-relevant or negative stimuli compared to those without PTSD, while others could not replicate this effect. Existing evidence for information processing biases in each of these domains will be integrated and future directions for empirical study outlined. 

Table of Contents
Attentional Biases
Stroop studies
 Target detection studies
  Dot probe task.
  Visual search task.
 Temporal assessment of attention
 Summary of attentional biases PTSD
Interpretation Biases
 Judgment Biases
 Interpretation Biases
 Explicit Memory
  Cued recall of information.
  Examining memory through forgetting.
 Implicit Memory
  Word-stem completion.
  Indirect assessments of implicit memory.
  Summary of memory biases.

Correspondence to
Dr. Jessica Bomyea

PTSD, trauma, attention, memory, interpretation, information processing, cognition

Received 26 Aug 2014; Revised 4 Jan 2016; Accepted 4 Jan 2016; In Press 21 Feb 2016

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