Discuss the Role of One Theory of Emotion on a Cognitive Process

Topics: Memory, Hippocampus, Emotion and memory Pages: 3 (1043 words) Published: November 14, 2011
Discuss the role of one theory of emotion on a cognitive process (22 marks) *
The role of one theory of emotion is the flashbulb theory, which was suggested by Brown and Kulik (1977). A flashbulb memory is a type of long-term memory. It is an extremely clear, detailed and vivid memory of a highly emotional, sometimes personal event. Brown and Kulik (1977) formed the special-mechanism hypothesis, which argues for the existence of a special biological memory mechanism that, when triggered by an event exceeding criterial levels of surprise and consequentiality, creates a permanent record of the contents of awareness for the period immediately surrounding the shocking experience. The hypothesis of a special flashbulb-memory mechanism holds that flashbulb memories have special characteristics that are different from those produced by “ordinary” memory mechanisms. It is believed that the representations created by the special mechanism are detailed, accurate, vivid, and resistant to forgetting. *

* Brown and Kulik suggested that we have a special neural mechanism located inside our brains which help to trigger the emotional arousal when a shocking or unexpected event occurs. The emotional stimulus first goes thorough the sensory thalamus and then to the amygdala, which is located in the temporal lobe. The perception of the potential stressor enables the brain to send signals to the body so that it can prepare for action. At the same time, the thalamus sends the information via the indirect pathway to the cortex and hippocampus for closer inspection. This results in a more detailed evaluation of the stimulus – also known as appraisal – and the outcome of this is sent to the amygdala. It plays a huge role in emotional memories as it releases hormones such as adrenaline which helps us remember the event better. For example, when someone close to us has died, our physiological arousal, also known as the fight-or-flight response, gives us a reaction in the...
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