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Threat, self and dementia: Evidence from social psychology (13th April 2022) V3

Cheston, Richard

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All forms of dementia are progressive and incurable, threatening almost all aspects of a person’s self or identity. Dementia, then, represents an existential threat. In this seminar I will outline some of the main findings from a ten-year collaboration between our small research group at UWE Bristol and Constantine Sedikides and Tom Wildschut from the Centre for Self and Identity at the University of Southampton. In a series of projects, we have looked at how people living with dementia defend themselves against this threat. In our initial studies we found evidence that people living with dementia selectively forgot highly threatening information about dementia that related to themselves, rather than to someone else. However, after inducing nostalgia (which acts to augment psychological resources including self-esteem and social connectedness) this discrepancy in performance disappears. We argue that these studies are, effectively, an analogue of important clinical phenomena including awareness and adjustment and that nostalgic reminiscence may be useful as an intervention.

Presentation Conference Type Presentation / Talk
Conference Name The Society for Psychotherapy Research, UK chapter annual conference
Start Date Apr 13, 2022
End Date Apr 13, 2022
Deposit Date Apr 14, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 20, 2022
Series Title Seminar series
Keywords Dementia, Alzheimer's disease, threat, nostalgia, identity
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