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Open Access Evaluating the Effect of Eye Movements on Positive Memories Such as Those Used in Resource Development and Installation

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Resource development and installation (RDI) is an eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)-related procedure developed to strengthen positive associations in positive and resourceful memories (Korn & Leeds, 2002). This study tested the assumption that bilateral stimulation (horizontal eye movements [EM]) in RDI “appears to lead to spontaneous, rapid increases in affective intensity . . . and to rich, emotionally vivid associations” (Korn & Leeds, p. 1469). This study also tested whether eye movement effects could be better accounted for by working memory or by interhemispheric interaction theory. Fifty-three undergraduate students each recalled three memories of pride, perseverance, and self-confidence. They provided pretest and posttest ratings of each memory for vividness, pleasantness, and experienced strength of the positive quality, before and after performing three simultaneous tasks during recall: horizontal EM, vertical EM, and recall only. Results were fully in line with working memory predictions, with significant decreases for all variables following both eye movement tasks. There was no support for the interhemispheric hypothesis. It is concluded that the effectiveness of bilateral stimulation in RDI is questionable. Clinical implications are discussed.

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Keywords: EMDR; EYE MOVEMENTS; INTERHEMISPHERIC INTERACTION; RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND INSTALLATION (RDI); WORKING MEMORY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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  • The Journal of EMDR Practice and Research is a quarterly, peer-reviewed publication devoted to integrative, state-of-the-art papers about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a broadly conceived interdisciplinary journal that stimulates and communicates research and theory about EMDR, and their application to clinical practice.
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