Flashbulb Memory

Topics: Memory, Emotion and memory, Psychology Pages: 4 (1114 words) Published: April 25, 2013
Question for the Flashbulb Memory articles:

Explain flashbulb memories, and how they are similar to (or different from) normal memories. What are some of the theoretical explanations for flashbulb memories? Which explanation(s) do you find most compelling, and why? Please use empirical evidence (i.e., findings from experiments)to back up your opinions.

Emotion Driven Memories
September 11, 2001, 9:30 AM, I was in music class, sitting next to my best friend Valerie Garza, watching “The Sound of Music” when my grandparents showed up to take me home for the day. Many other class members had already been picked up by their parents and I recall feeling and frightened confused. My grandparents explained to me that a plane had crashed into a big building in New York City. Although I was just a nine-year-old I can recall this day very vividly. Just about anyone in America could tell you where they were and what they were doing when they found out about the attack on September 11th. This is a prime example of a flashbulb memory. Flashbulb memories are highly detailed vivid memories of one’s discovery of surprising or emotion arousing events. Everyone experiences these vivid memories at some point or other. But what makes them so different from other forms of memory? Why are they so much more detailed to us than other forms of memory? For many years it was thought that flashbulb memories were different from other forms of memories because they are immune to forgetting because of Brown and Kulik’s (1977) study (as cited in Kvavilashili, Mirani, Schlagman, Foley & Kornbrot, 2009) which originally coined the term “flashbulb memory”. This is untrue; flashbulb memories are not immune to forgetting (Kvavilashili et al. 2009). When 54 Duke Students were reordered on their memory of first hearing about September 11th and of a recent event and then again retested at a time delay of either 1, 6 or 32 weeks Tolarico & Rubin (2003) reported that consistency decreased...

References: Kvavilashvili, L., Mirani, J., Schlagman, S., Foley, K., & Kornbrot, D. E. (2009). Consistency of
flashbulb memories of September 11 over long delays: Implications for consolidation and
MacKay, D. G., & Ahmetzanov, M. V. (2005). Emotion, memory and attention in the taboo
stroop paradigm: An experimental analogue of flashbulb memories
Talarico, J. M., & Rubin, D. C. (2003). Confidence, not consistency, characterizes flashbulb
memories
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