Project Abstract

Intrusive memories of trauma are distressing and disruptive—too often persisting for years. Understanding intrusions from an experimental psychology perspective informs both theory and clinical innovation. We lack preventative and scalable interventions post-trauma.

We have developed a brief, science-driven behavioural intervention to prevent and reduce intrusions. Across laboratory and naturalistic settings, this 4-year project takes the next theoretical and clinical steps to investigate how intrusive memories can be modulated over time. Our work includes:

  1. behavioural lab experiments to optimize ways to reduce intrusions
  2. work in health care settings to reduce intrusive memories e.g. during  the COVID-19 pandemic
  3. work with women with long-standing trauma memories in a naturalistic environment (Iceland).

Findings across a range of settings illuminate mechanisms to stop the persistence of intrusions, advancing knowledge of memory dysfunction. These new and novel studies inform basic theories of memory, and translational psychological science.