The influence of data-driven versus conceptually-driven processing on the development of PTSD-like symptoms

M. Kindt*, M.A. van den Hout, A.R. Arntz, J. Drost

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Web of Science)


Ehlers and Clark [(2000). A cognitive model of posttraumatic stress disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 38, 319-345] propose that a predominance of data-driven processing during the trauma predicts subsequent PTSD. We wondered whether, apart from data-driven encoding, sustained data-driven processing after the trauma is also crucial for the development of PTSD. Both hypotheses were tested in two analogue experiments. Experiment I demonstrated that relative to conceptually-driven processing (n = 20), data-driven processing after the film (n = 14), resulted in more intrusions. Experiment 2 demonstrated that relative to the neutral condition (n = 24) and the data-driven encoding condition (n = 24), conceptual encoding (n = 25) reduced suppression of intrusions and a trend emerged for memory fragmentation. The difference between the two encoding styles was due to the beneficial effect of induced conceptual encoding and not to the detrimental effect of data-driven encoding. The data support the viability of the distinction between data-driven/conceptually-driven processing for the understanding of the development of PTSD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-557
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

Cite this