Boundary Restriction for Negative Emotional Images Is an Example of Memory Amplification

Melanie Takarangi, Jacinta Oulton, Deanne Green, Deryn Strange

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    We investigated whether boundary restriction—misremembering proximity to traumatic stimuli—is a form of memory amplification and whether reexperiencing trauma plays a role in boundary restriction errors. In four experiments, subjects viewed a series of traumatic photographs. Later, subjects identified the photographs they originally saw among distracters that could be identical, close-up, or wide-angled versions of the same photographs. Subjects also completed measures of mood, analogue PTSD symptoms, phenomenological experience of intrusions, and processing style. Across experiments, subjects were more likely to incorrectly remember the photographs as having extended boundaries: boundary extension. Despite this tendency, the extent to which subjects reexperienced traumatic aspects of the photographs predicted how often they incorrectly remembered the photographs as having narrower boundaries: boundary restriction. Our data suggest that although boundary extension is more common, boundary restriction is related to individual differences in coping mechanisms posttrauma. These results have theoretical implications for understanding how people remember trauma.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)82-95
    Number of pages14
    JournalClinical Psychological Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


    • Cognition and emotion
    • Memory
    • Trauma


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