What is memory?

Memory involves encoding, storage and retrieval of information, which may be disrupted in people with PTSD. Short-term memory is the ability to remember information after several seconds or minutes; and long-term memory is the ability to remember information over a longer duration. Semantic memory is memory for general facts, episodic memory is memory for personal events, prospective memory is memory for future actions, and retrospective memory is memory for past events. Working memory involves information being temporarily held as well as manipulated.

What is the evidence for memory ability in people with PTSD?

Moderate quality evidence finds small to medium-sized effects that people with PTSD had poorer memory (episodic and prospective) than controls. There were medium to large effects of poorer verbal episodic and working memory in people with PTSD, with similar effects found in children and adults. Visual episodic memory was impaired only in children with PTSD.

Moderate to low quality evidence finds large deficits in autobiographical memory in people with PTSD. Review authors explain an autobiographical memory deficit in PTSD as having difficulty recalling specific details of personal events and a tendency to recall an overall, general impression of events instead.

August 2021

Image: ©2018 Andrew Ostrovsky –

Last updated at: 2:04 am, 29th August 2021
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Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

NeuRA Libraries

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