Accuracy of Flashbulb memories –
This presentation deals with the topic of flashbulb memories and how accurate they can be. The awareness of flashbulb memory was first conveyed by psychologist Roger Brown and James Kulik in 1977. It was proposed that flashbulb memories are so emotionally important to us that they are embedded with vividness, accuracy and with complete fullness in our minds. They argued for an existence of a memory mechanism that, when triggered by an event that was of unusual and exceeding levels of surprise and consequence, created a permanent record of the details surrounding the experience. This though has been put to question.
Resulting with a permanent record of details surrounding a experience with extreme vividness, fullness and accuracy.
Common examples of flashbulb memories would be the assassination of president J F Kennedy, John Lennon, the Space shuttle disaster in 1986, and the attack on the twin towers.
One study to challenge this was a study led by Ulric Neisser in 1992. It compared people’s immediate recollections and then their later recollections two and a half years after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. It was suggested that people’s memories of the event and how they had heard about it deteriorated considerably. It could be suggested that in the space of the two and a half years more data could have been collected at intervals and then used to show exactly how the deterioration may have occurred. Also, only flashbulb like memories were collected and not everyday memories.
Results showed that memories deteriorated for both events recorded.
To tackle furthermore the issue of how accurate flashbulb memories were another research carried out by Talarico (2003) used 54 University students and got them to recount their recollections of 9/11 attacks. The students were requested to describe the experience of attacks and also of a regular, everyday memory. Three different groups were made answer sets of...
References: Winograd, E., & Neisser, U. (1992). Affect and accuracy in recall: Studies of 'flashbulb ' memories. New York, NY US: Cambridge University Press.
* Another study based around 9/11 carried out by Phelps (2004) found similar results. It was found that ratings of vividness, recollection and belief in the accuracy of memory declined for both but considerably for everyday memories.
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