Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

Individuals with psychotic-like experiences exhibit enhanced involuntary autobiographical memories

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The relationship between hallucinations and stressful life events in psychosis is recognised, and has recently been supported by findings showing that the frequency of involuntary autobiographical memory and future projection predicts hallucination-proneness in the general population. To better understand the nature of this relationship, an online survey was conducted in 44 individuals with high Psychotic Like Experiences (PLE) and 44 matched controls, assessing the quantitative, qualitative and content characteristics of their involuntary autobiographical memories and future thoughts. Individuals with high PLE displayed a higher frequency of both involuntary autobiographical memory and future thought compared to controls. Moreover, the associated emotional intensity, feeling of reliving and intrusiveness were increased. Contrary to controls' memories, involuntary memories of individuals with high PLE more frequently referred to traumatic events and were associated with negative mood impact at retrieval. Taken together, these results can be seen as consistent with a relationship between involuntary memory and hallucination, by suggesting phenomenological and content related similarities between the two processes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychiatry Research
Pages (from-to)281-287
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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