ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (2): 252-260.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.00252

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Maladaptive Generalization in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

1WANG Chaoyi1,2; GAO Bo3; Yang Qingxiong3; LI Yonghui1   

  1. (1 Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100101, China) (2 University of Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100049, China) (3 Guizhou Normal University, Guiyang 55000, China)
  • Received:2014-03-15 Online:2015-02-14 Published:2015-02-14
  • Contact: LI Yonghui, E-mail:


Overgeneralization is a key diagnosis feature of mental disorder caused from stress. Most posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients have developed overgeneralization phenomenon after traumatic events. However, the relationship between overgeneralization and development of PTSD is unclear as so far. Some evidence suggested that overgeneralization results in the development of PTSD, on the contrary, some studies supported that PTSD facilitates the transition from ‘adaptive generalization’ to ‘maladaptive overgeneralization’. It is confirmed that PTSD and overgeneralization have commonalities on the development trajectory, and share the same abnormal mechanism on learning and memory. Further studies should focus on their relationship and brain mechanisms underlying them which could benefit to the early detection and diagnosis of PTSD, and also novel avenues for treatment.

Key words: posttraumatic stress disorder, generalization, maladaptive generalization, memory