Overgeneral memory extends to pictorial retrieval cues and correlates with cognitive features in posttraumatic stress disorder.
Schönfeld S., Ehlers A.
Individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) show overgeneral memory (OGM) when retrieving autobiographical memories to word cues. We investigated whether OGM extends to picture cues and whether it is related to PTSD symptoms and cognitions. Trauma survivors with (n = 29) and without (n = 26) PTSD completed the standard Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT) and a novel picture version. Compared to the no-PTSD group, the PTSD group showed OGM in both test versions. Pictures facilitated specific memory retrieval, but this effect was no longer significant when verbal intelligence or depressive symptoms were controlled. OGM correlated with PTSD symptoms and perceived self-change; with intrusive memories, their perceived "nowness," responses to intrusions (thought suppression, rumination, dissociation), and negative interpretations of symptoms.