Daten zum Projekt

A duty to remember, a right to forget? Behavioral Modulation of Emotional Memory Traces

Initiative: European Platform
Bewilligung: 04.12.2014
Laufzeit: 4 Jahre 6 Monate


The project focuses on manipulations of memories in general and traumatic memories that may develop into a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in particular. In addition, it will clarify the legal status of memories and analyze whether substantive legal requirements can be meaningfully reinterpreted in light of current memory research. This is crucial when juridical decisions have to be based on reports from witnesses with traumatic memories: On the one hand these memories are important for court proceedings, on the other hand the respective individuals suffering from traumatic memories have a very understandable interest in getting rid of their traumas as soon as possible. Within the framework of the project PTSD will serve as a model case for psychological injuries in tort and criminal law. It explores neuroimaging biomarkers of PTSD and their usability as evidence in court proceedings. In parallel, it examines the conflicting interests between the state and the individual with regard to manipulations of traumatic memories and it will investigate experimentally how traumatic memories can be effectively modulated by two behavioral strategies: sleep and repeated retrieval. The latter, known as the testing effect, enhances long-term retention of information and may serve as an experimental equivalent of police interrogations. Among other tests concerning the relation of sleep and emotional memory, the project scrutinizes the hypothesis that sleep deprivation is a possible intervention to prevent the development of PTSD in traumatized individuals.


  • Dr. Dimitris Repantis

    Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
    Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie
    Campus Benjamin Franklin

  • Dr. Martin Dresler

    Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition
    and Behaviour at Radboud Universiteit

  • Dr. Jan Christoph Bublitz

    Universität Hamburg
    Fakultät für Rechtswissenschaft
    Strafrecht & Rechtsphilosophie

  • Prof. Dr. Simone Kühn

    Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
    Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychoth