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Flashbulb Memories

Page history last edited by Shivam Patel 6 years, 8 months ago


Flashbulb Memories


Flashbulb memories are a type of long-term memory. These memories are focused around specific, shocking, emotional events. Flashbulb memories are high in details such as location, emotion, and surroundings. Many people feel that they can correctly remember all of these details because of the vividness of the event. The name is inappropriate because an actual photograph preserves everything within its scope. Flashbulb memories, in actuality, are far from complete. Evidence has shown that although people are highly confident in their memories, the details of the memories can be forgotten.




People also may form flashbulb memories of important personal events, such as hearing about the death of a family member or witnessing an unusual trauma such as a disaster. Emotions play such an important role in flashbulb memory that the amygdala, responsible for emotions, triggers them faster than our conscious awareness.  What makes the flashbulb memory special is the emotional arousal at the moment that the event is registered to the memory. It is the emotions elicited by a flashbulb memory event that increase the ability to recall the details of the event. One reason that the flashbulb memories are remembered is because these memories tend to be retold over and over again. Sometimes, though, these memories are not necessarily accurate. Accuracy reduces during the first 3 months and levels at about 12 months.



The flashbulb memories are stored on one occasion and retained for a lifetime. These memories are associated with important historical or autobiographical events. Examples of flashbulb events are September 11th, Assassination of Kennedy, and the Challenger explosion. Each of these events sparked a strong emotional response from many people around the country. Today many of us have been asked, "where were you when September 11th occurred?" Almost all of us will feel that our memory of this event is correct, despite research telling us that errors will be in the memory. 



                    SOURCE=http://duffmaru.freeservers.com/nyc1.jpg                              SOURCE=http://www.northbynorthwestern.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/kennedy.jpg                              


Related Links:



     Video explaining what a flashbulb memory is and provides examples



     Simple definition of what a flashbulb memory is



     Research that explains errors in flashbulb memories



     Article with information about lack of flashbulb memory accuracy 



     Article that explains what forms a flashbulb memory



     Defines the different types of memory



     Information about general memory



     How memories are created and stored



     Scholarly article about memory and aging issues



     A research study that describes President Bush's false flashbulb memory after the 9/11 attacks.


Additional Links:



     First hand accounts from 9/11 and a psychologist's analysis on the phenomenon.



     An interactive, yet fun quiz to discover if you have any flashbulb memories.



     Briefly discusses and outlines three studies related to flashbulb memories   



     Missouri residents recall Apollo 11 moon landing.



     A research that suggests how well one remembers the 9/11 attacks may depend on how directly one was affected that day.



     An article that shows how the amygdala plays a role in the development of flashbulb memories.



     Article mentioning brief details about flashbulb memories.



     Short paragraphs discussing how history impacts the shaping of flashbulb memories.



     A prezi presentation giving background information about flashbulb memories as well as relevant studies.



     Evaluates flashbulb memories and challenges whether the memories are real or rehearsed.




*Created by Caitlin Donnelly

This page was further edited by: Shivam Patel

*All images and information are public to our knowledge. If there are any copyright issues, email donnelly_cd@bellsouth.net or shivam9412@gmail.com


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