Does your MEMORY work like a CAMERA?

Does your MEMORY work like a CAMERA?

Imagine you can create your own mental photo album by taking mental pictures of every scene and event in your life and consequently having access to all those mental pictures whenever you want. 

Though there is no evidence for a photographic memory, this is implied in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR is a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In EMDR, a metaphorical instruction is used to elicit the target image (i.e., the most traumatic part). The metaphorical instruction that was given to participants is to think of their memory for an event as a picture. We questioned whether such a metaphorical instruction influences one’s memory: Does it actually lead to a better memory or does it elicit false memories (i.e., memories of events that did not happen)? 

Participants were shown a video about a car crash and afterwards were instructed to think of their memory as a camera with which they had taken pictures of the accident, and the other participants were not given any specific instructions. Subsequently, they were provided with misinformation about certain details of this accident. Investigating whether such a metaphorical instruction elicits correct or false memories, is important to determine the effectiveness of the intervention.

If EMDR therapies use this metaphorical instruction of photos as memories even though it increases the amount of false memories, could lead to a deterioration of the PTSD patient’s trauma. Preventing that such a result happens and improving the overall EMDR intervention, this study is of great importance for all trauma patients. 
In the end, your photographic memory could be a blessing or a curse. Read our study and find out.

Group 4

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