Information-Processing Models of PTSD
As the conceptualization of PTSD has evolved over the past several
decades, information-processing models which emphasize the role of emotional networks have gained considerable support as explanations of PTSD symptomatology. Taken together, such models offer explanations for the “state dependent” nature of traumatic memories and for the reexperiencing phenomena which are the hallmark of PTSD, and provide a paradigm for understanding habituation and extinction in therapy (Chemtob et al.,1988; Foa
& Kozak, 1986; Foa, Steketee, & Olasov-Rothbaum, 1989; Lang, 1977,1979, 1986; Rachman, 1980).
In his theory of emotional processing of fear, Rachman (1980) suggests that PTSD-like symptoms result from inadequate emotional processing of trauma and that such symptoms could be ameliorated by the facilitating of successful emotional processing. Lang (1977,1979,1986) proposes a model of emotional processing in which emotion is defined as a specific information structure in
memory consisting of stimuli, responses, and the meaning assigned to the stimulus and response data. Lang contends that vivid response imagery is critical in accessing a fear memory and that affective involvement must be present in order for the memory unit to be altered.