Distractibility and individual differences in the experience of involuntary memories

Johan Verwoerd*, Ineke Wessel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study explored the idea that the tendency to experience intrusive memories might be associated with relatively weak cognitive control in general as indexed by the general propensity to become distracted by irrelevant information. A sample of undergraduate students (N = 413) filled in self-report measures of involuntary memories, distractibility, depression and repressive coping. The results showed a significant relation between involuntary memories and distractibility, independent of both trait depression and repressive coping, indicating a general vulnerability factor. As cognitive control may be sensitive to circadian variation, time of day effects in the experience of intrusions were also explored. No significant relation emerged. A proposed relationship between deficient inhibitory mechanisms of working memory and vulnerability for developing and maintaining intrusive memories after experiencing a stressful event is also discussed. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-334
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2007

Keywords

  • involuntary memories
  • distractibility
  • inhibitory mechanisms
  • POSTTRAUMATIC-STRESS-DISORDER
  • COGNITIVE FAILURES
  • INTRUSIVE MEMORIES
  • AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORIES
  • DEPRESSIVE DEFICITS
  • CAPACITY
  • SUPPRESSION
  • ATTENTION
  • THOUGHTS
  • AROUSAL

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