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Journal Articles Science Year : 2020

Resilience after trauma: The role of memory suppression

Vincent de la Sayette
Pierre Gagnepain


In the aftermath of trauma, little is known about why the unwanted and unbidden recollection of traumatic memories persists in some individuals but not others. We implemented neutral and inoffensive intrusive memories in the laboratory in a group of 102 individuals exposed to the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks and 73 nonexposed individuals, who were not in Paris during the attacks. While reexperiencing these intrusive memories, nonexposed individuals and exposed individuals without posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could adaptively suppress memory activity, but exposed individuals with PTSD could not. These findings suggest that the capacity to suppress memory is central to positive posttraumatic adaptation. A generalized disruption of the memory control system could explain the maladaptive and unsuccessful suppression attempts often seen in PTSD, and this disruption should be targeted by specific treatments.
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halshs-03919039 , version 1 (02-01-2023)



Alison Mary, Jacques Dayan, Giovanni Leone, Charlotte Postel, Florence Fraisse, et al.. Resilience after trauma: The role of memory suppression. Science, 2020, 367 (6479), pp.eaay8477. ⟨10.1126/science.aay8477⟩. ⟨halshs-03919039⟩
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