TRAUMATIC MEMORIES STORED DIFFERENTLY TO NORMAL MEMORIES September 28, 2016, David Hosier MSc

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Traumatic memories are first received by the part of the brain called the AMYGDALA for initial processing and are then sent on to another brain region known as the HIPPOCAMPUS. (Both the amygdala and hippocampus are part of the brain’s LIMBIC SYSTEM, which can be thought of as the brain’s EMOTIONAL CENTRE.
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The function of the HIPPOCAMPUS is to help the brain with INTEGRATING MEMORIES; in order to help achieve this, extremely functions are performed by the HIPPOCAMPUS, including :
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1) Connecting a memory to other memories
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2) Placing the memory accurately in time and space so that it is integrated into one’s narrative of one’s life / properly contextualized in relation to one’s life history
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3) Linking and connecting different aspects of any one particular memory to each other in a cohesive and coherent manner
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4) Sending the memory on to another part of the brain known as the PREFRONTAL CORTEX which subsequently sends it on to a specific part of the LEFT PREFRONTAL CORTEX called BROCA’S AREA; arrival here allows the memory to be named (verbally) and made logical sense of.
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THE ABOVE PROCESS APPLIES TO ‘NORMAL’ MEMORIES.
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HOWEVER, RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT TRAUMATIC MEMORIES ARE PROCESSED AND STORED IN A DIFFERENT (AND DYSFUNCTIONAL) WAY. This seems to be due to a number of factors which I describe below:
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1) Individuals with a history of trauma tend to have a SHRUNKEN HIPPOCAMPUS which in turn negatively affects its functioning when it is required to attempt to process subsequent traumatic events.
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2) Furthermore, in such traumatized individuals, BROCA’S AREA SHUTS DOWN and OTHER PARTS OF THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX DEVELOP IMPAIRED FUNCTIONALITY.
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3) However, these individuals, because of their traumatic histories, also develop problems with the functioning of their AMYGDALAE – in such people, the AMYGDALA becomes hyper-responsive to stress, including, importantly, traumatic memories.
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4) Traumatic memories seem to become lodged in the brain’s RIGHT HEMISPHERE (as opposed to the brain’s more logical, left hemisphere) which leads to :
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– the traumatic memories being verbally inexpressible
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– the traumatic memories being fragmented
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– the traumatic memories being highly emotionally charged / highly emotionally distressing
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– the traumatic memories lacking cohesiveness and coherence, making them seemingly unintelligible and resistant to logical analysis
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– the traumatic memories remaining unprocessed
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– the traumatic memories remaining unstored in the brain’s normal memory ‘file’ and, thus, unintegrated into the normal memory system

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3 responses to this post.

  1. […] via TRAUMATIC MEMORIES STORED DIFFERENTLY TO NORMAL MEMORIES September 28, 2016, David Hosier MSc — C … […]

  2. Posted by thecollectivesystem on April 26, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Hey. I shared this entry on my blog. Thanks for posting it. 🙂

  3. Thank you enjoy

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