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Describe the emotional factors affecting memory Whether we remember things and how in depth and detail will remember them is affected by emotional factors. Emotional states may result in remembering things better or worse. Flashbulb memories are an example of recalled memories enhanced by being emotionally aroused when the event occurred. Repression has the opposite effect and occurs due to certain memories which created anxiety, this process makes them increasingly inaccessible/ forgotten. Flashbulbs are highly detailed recollections of the context in which people first heard about an important an important event. These are usually memories of events ( episodic memories) rather than just facts (semantic). Flashbulb memories are claimed to differ from other memories because they involve an enduring imprint of the events surrounding an important event. The imprint is both lasting and unchanging. The analogy of a flashbulb memories relates to the way we can often remember where we were at the time, what activity we were involved in at the time, also who was present, as if the occurrence had been illuminated by a flashbulb. This suggests that memories are like photographs in their accuracy but various studies of young school children after the challenger space shuttle disaster in 1998 found that flashbulb memories have inaccuracies. Flashbulb memories are not only important public event associations but highly significant personal events too. ...read more.


Additionally 15 months following found that 11% of the data contained major errors and distortions, but those interviewed 32 months after showed 40% were distorted accounts of the event. This alternatively to Conway's findings shows that flashbulb memories do in fact decay and are not enduringly accurate- if it is accepted that recall for the O.J Simpson trial constitutes a flashbulb memory. Wright 1993 has an extremely controversial alternative view, claiming that actually flashbulb memories are subject to the same processes as all memories and that there is no special process/ mechanism involved. Wright used interviews, about their recall of events related to the Hillsborough football disaster where 96 Liverpool supporters where crushed to death. After 5 months, people had a vague memory of the event and remembered little. Wright concluded that they had a RECONSTRUCTIVE memory where their memories blend in with others peoples memories and things they have read also. Another memory process affected by emotion is repression, first proposed by Freud. He stated that repression of the mind automatically banishes traumatic events from the memory to prevent overwhelming anxiety that they might cause, it is a defence mechanism. These mechanisms are placed beyond the conscious awareness into the unconscious mind . This displacement means that the memories are unavailable temporarily however still affect conscious thought, desire and action, even though there is no conscious recollection. ...read more.


This study has many unethical issues, such as invasion of privacy, anonymity, right to withdraw, lack of informed consent, prevention form physical and psychological harm. These participants may not have forgotten the event they may have been worries that what the said would be publicly displayed as the interviewer had already been through 'confidential' hospital records. Karen and Widener showed that many of the World War 2 veterans who experienced battlefield trauma appeared to repress the memories resulting in mental illness. This was only relieved when the memories were recovered in therapy. In a contrasting perception, a review of 60 years of experimental tests of repression Holmes (1990) concluded that there is no evidence that unequivocally supports the role of repression in forgetting. The syndrome of post traumatic stress disorder shows that verifiable traumatic events , rather than being repressed, actually leave the victim haunted by intrusive memories in which the victim relives the trauma. This leads to the question of whether only some people form flashbulb memories and others repress emotional incidents. Various studies including one where children were interviewed after a sniper had attacked the school, showed that even children not present at the time of the attack still had vivid memories. These 'false memories are said the be created by accounts of other children's experiences. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lauren Major ...read more.

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