Enhanced priming for trauma-related material in posttraumatic stress disorder.
Michael T., Ehlers A., Halligan SL.
Intrusive reexperiencing in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been linked to perceptual priming for trauma-related material. A prospective longitudinal study (N = 69) investigated perceptual priming for trauma-related, general threat, and neutral words in assault survivors with and without PTSD, using a new version of the word-stem completion task. Survivors with PTSD showed enhanced priming for trauma-related words. Furthermore, priming for trauma-related words measured soon after the trauma was associated with subsequent PTSD severity at 3, 6, and 9 months. The enhanced priming effect was specific to trauma-related words. Enhanced perceptual priming for traumatic material appears to be one of the cognitive processes operating in PTSD.