Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 195–198

Some characteristics of people’s traumatic memories

  • Sven-Åke Christianson
  • Elizabeth F. Loftus

DOI: 10.3758/BF03334001

Cite this article as:
Christianson, SÅ. & Loftus, E.F. Bull. Psychon. Soc. (1990) 28: 195. doi:10.3758/BF03334001


In this study, we examined whether highly emotional events are associated with persistence of memory for both central and peripheral detail, as has been claimed elsewhere in the literature (e.g., Yuille & Cutshall, 1989). A total of 437 subjects in two experiments were asked to report their “most traumatic memory” and to answer questions about their chosen memory. A major finding was a significant relationship between rated degree of emotion and the number of central details, but not peripheral details, the subjects believed that they remembered. The implication of this result for the study of emotional memory is discussed.

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Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sven-Åke Christianson
    • 1
  • Elizabeth F. Loftus
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of StockholmStockholmSweden
  2. 2.University of WashingtonSeattle

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