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Effect of Bilateral Eye Movements on Frontal Interhemispheric Gamma EEG Coherence: Implications for EMDR Therapy

Propper, Ruth E. PhD*; Pierce, Jenna BA*; Geisler, Mark W. PhD†; Christman, Stephen D. PhD‡; Bellorado, Nathan BS*

Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease:
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318142cf73
Brief Report

The use of bilateral eye movements (EMs) is an important component of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder. The neural mechanisms underlying EMDR remain unclear. However, prior behavioral work looking at the effects of bilateral EMs on the retrieval of episodic memories suggests that the EMs enhance interhemispheric interaction. The present study examined the effects of the EMs used in EMDR on interhemispheric electroencephalogram coherence. Relative to noneye-movement controls, engaging in bilateral EMs led to decreased interhemispheric gamma electroencephalogram coherence. Implications for future work on EMDR and episodic memory are discussed.

Author Information

*Psychology Department, Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts; †Psychology Department, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California; and ‡Psychology Department, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.

This study was supported by the Ciejek Fellowship (R.E.P.). The first author thanks Stephen Propper for discussion of concept and theory.

Send reprint requests to Ruth E. Propper, PhD, Psychology Department, Merrimack College, 315 Turnpike Street, North Andover, MA 01845. E-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.