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Victor G. Carrión

, John A. Turner

, and Carl F. Weems

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date: 27 October 2020

One of the most prominent symptoms of PTSD is the persistence of troubling trauma-memories that appear resistant to extinction. To understand the key role that memory plays in the development of PTSD, the current chapter presents a review of theoretical models for memory encoding, processing, learning, and extinction. The preclinical literature that has informed our understanding of the toxic relationship between chronic elevation of stress hormones such as glucocorticoids and memory is examined. Consideration of cognitive and neuroimaging studies on adults and children illustrates the long-term consequences of traumatic stress on the neurofunctional structures involved in memory, such as the hippocampus and LHPA axis. The variance in these effects, attributable to their timing and context, is discussed, and suggests that stress may preprogram subsequent memory performance when it is experienced during the critical period of brain development.

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