Overview of Psychophysiological Studies of PTSD   [open pdf - 198KB]

This article on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) discusses psychophysiological studies related to PTSD in terms of two research standards. From the article: "Individuals with PTSD consistently have been found to respond with heightened psychophysiological reactivity to trauma-related cues (DSM-IIIR PTSD criterion D.6) compared to individuals without PTSD. The majority of investigations comprising this literature have been conducted within the contexts of two research paradigms. In the first paradigm standardized audio-visual cues, typically combat sounds such as mortar or gunfire and pictures of combat situations, are presented to subjects while physiological responses including heart rate (HR), blood pressure, electrodermal activity, and forehead electromyogram (EMG) are recorded (Blanchard et al., 1982; Blanchard et al., 1986; Blanchard et al., 1989; Malloy et al., 1983; McFall et al., 1990; Pallmeyer et al., 1986). [...] The second paradigm uses script-driven imagery to assess physiological reactivity while subjects recollect a variety of experiences. Short vignettes (scripts) approximately 30 sec. in duration are derived from an individual's traumatic and non-traumatic life experiences. These scripts are then tape-recorded and played back in the psychophysiology laboratory. [...] The two research paradigms discussed above can be viewed as different methods for presenting cues capable of activating the memory network, within which trauma-related information is encoded, and its accompanying emotional and behavioral responses."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
National Center for PTSD: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/
Media Type:
PTSD Research Quarterly (Winter 1994), v.5 no.1
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