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Open Access Interhemispheric Interaction and Saccadic Horizontal Eye Movements

Implications for Episodic Memory, EMDR, and PTSD

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The growing body of literature on the effects of bilateral saccadic eye movements, patterned after those employed in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), on memory is reviewed. Research indicates that engaging in bilateral saccadic eye movements prior to lab-based memory testing results in significant improvement in episodic memory across a wide range of memory tests. Other effects of these types of eye movements on hemispheric activation and emotional state are also discussed. The findings are interpreted within a framework suggesting that bilateral saccadic eye movements, such as those employed in EMDR, increase interaction between the left and right cerebral hemispheres. This framework is also used to explain the effects of such eye movements on memory during EMDR treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder.

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Keywords: EPISODIC MEMORY; EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION THERAPY; EYE MOVEMENTS; HANDEDNESS; INTERHEMISPHERIC INTERACTION

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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