Desensitisation and facilitation of memory after eye movements: An effort to solve an apparent contradiction.
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Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) is a disorder characterized by frequent vivid memories of a traumatic event. A current effective treatment for PTSD is Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing treatment (EMDR). A model to explain the desensitizing effects by eye movements is the dual task hypothesis of working memory (WM). This posits that eye movements as second task exceed WM capacity, thus blurring subsequent reconsolidation of the (traumatic) memory. Eye movements prior to recall however have also been observed to facilitate memory. This thesis reviews several models to analyse whether the conflicting findings could result from one underlying process, or whether procedural differences in study design are likely to generate the opposing effects.