Memory for emotionally neutral information in posttraumatic stress disorder: A meta-analytic investigation

J Abnorm Psychol. 2007 Aug;116(3):448-63. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.116.3.448.


Studies have come to conflicting conclusions about whether posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with poorer memory for emotionally neutral information. The authors report a meta-analysis of 27 studies that investigated verbal and/or visual memory in samples with PTSD and healthy controls. The results indicated that the association between PTSD and memory impairment appears to be robust, small to moderate in size, and stronger for verbal than for visual memory. Effect sizes did not vary according to whether recall was immediate or delayed. The association is found in both civilian and military samples and cannot be readily explained as being due to the use of nontraumatized healthy control groups or concurrent head injury. The findings are placed in the context of recent neurobiological and experimental cognitive research.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Humans
  • Memory*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*