Flashbulb Memory

Topics: Memory, Emotion and memory, Hippocampus Pages: 4 (1403 words) Published: May 4, 2011
Flashbulb memory is a distinctive and vivid memory. They are also long lasting, accurate and detailed. These memories are from personal circumstances surrounding a person’s discovery of shocking events. People remember these memories with clear details of the emotions they were feeling, the place where they were, and what they were doing when they first heard the news. These memories are so vivid that people can even remember irrelevant details, such as, weather or what they were wearing. Even though a flashbulb memory could be from previous years early, people can remember these memories like they just happened yesterday. Although, people remember what events happened on these certain days they can’t remember what they did the day before or possibly the day after. The aspect that makes these memories a lifelong memory is the emotion behind the memory. The emotion felt at the time of the event is what turns the memory from a regular memory in to a flashbulb memory. Emotional reactions stimulate the release of hormones that have been shown to enhance the formation of long term memories (Saundra K. Ciccarelli, 2009) In addition, people remember emotional trauma better than they remember every day events. The initial shock or stress caused by these extreme events can cause people’s memory to be misread. It has been suggested by a newsletter titled, Memory Disorder Project (2006), that a person has to require participation of the amygdala to actually have had a flashbulb memory. Amygdala is a brain structure involved in emotional memory, and possibly other brain systems which regulates mood and alertness. Amygdala also can regulate the encoding, storage and retrieval of episodic memory. The amygdala may be vital to the retrieval of memories from emotional public events. There have been horrible events that have been perfect examples to research people’s flashbulb memories. In past decades, events such as assignations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther...

References: Ciccarelli, S. K., & White, N. J. (2009). Chapter 6. In L. Jewel, J. Mosher, R.
Diogenes, S. Lesan, & A. Bacher (Eds.), Psychology (2nd ed., pp. 222-223, 227-230).
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458: Pearson Education. (Original work
published 2006)
Dewey, R., Dr. (n.d.). Flashbulb Memory. Retrieved April 1, 2010, from
Myers, C. E. (2006). Memory Loss and the Brain [Newsletter]. Retrieved February
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