Conditioning Experiment Proves Trauma Improves Memory

January 22, 2015 9:28 AM

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Conditioning Experiment Proves Trauma Improves Memory

A new study indicates that traumatic experiences really jog our memory. “Meaningful or emotional events can selectively preserve memory for previously encountered information that seemed insignificant at that time,” explains lead study author and NYU post-doctoral fellow Joseph Dunsmoor. “We’re continuously monitoring our environment, and, in the process, accumulating countless details. We forget most of these details, but these new findings suggest that meaningful or emotional events can selectively preserve memory for previously encountered information that seemed insignificant at the time.”

Study authors Elizabeth Phelps and Lila Davachi detail “What is interesting about emotion and what we do know about memory is memory does get distorted with emotion,” Davachi tells, adding that people believe they remember details better if they are associate to trauma or something dramatic. She con...

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