M. van den Hout
- Dissociation and memory fragmentation: Experimental effects on meta-memory but not on actual memory performance.
- Behaviour Research and Therapy
- Volume | Issue number
- 41 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
The relation between state dissociation and fragmentary memory was investigated by assessing both actual memory performance and meta-memory. From a sample of 330 normal subjects, 2 subsamples were selected on basis of trait dissociation, as measured by the Dissociative Experience Scale. 20 subjects scoring above 30 and 20 subjects scoring below 10 were selected (all Ss mean age 20.9 yrs). Subjects watched an extremely aversive film, after which state dissociation was measured by the Peri-traumatic Dissociative Experience Scale. Four hours later memory fragmentation was assessed in 2 ways. Actual fragmentation was measured by a sequential memory task, and perceived fragmentation (meta-memory) was measured using a visual analogue scale. Subjects who tended to dissociate during the film judged their recollections of the film as more fragmentary. Although this finding is in line with clinical reports given by trauma victims, it was not sustained by objective evidence. That is, no effect was observed of state dissociation on the sequential memory task. The present findings suggest that the claim that dissociation induces memory fragmentation may have to be confined to meta-memory. Implications of this divergence between actual memory and meta-memory are discussed
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