The Adaptive Value of Survival Processing in Childhood Trauma Victims

Linsey Raymaekers, Henry Otgaar, Maarten J. V. Peters and Tom Smeets

in What Is Adaptive about Adaptive Memory?

Published in print November 2013 | ISBN: 9780199928057
Published online January 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780199369744 | DOI:
The Adaptive Value of Survival Processing in Childhood Trauma Victims

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  • Neuropsychology
  • Cognitive Psychology


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Past research showed the robust effect of survival processing in several undergraduate samples. Recently, this effect was also demonstrated in children (Aslan & Bäuml, 2012; Otgaar & Smeets, 2010). To our knowledge, the present study is the first to illustrate the survival recall effect in childhood trauma victims. The present study was the first to examine the influence of rating words according to an abuse scenario, a new (i.e., not used in previous studies) scenario that could also be viewed as a form of survival and potentially inducing self-referential processing in people with a history of abuse. The present data illustrate the adaptive role of the memory system in people with a history of trauma.

Keywords: Adaptive memory; survival processing; childhood trauma; self-referential processing

Chapter.  7572 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuropsychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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