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The following essay will describe and explain Flash bulb memory using the knowledge of the cognitive approach. Flash bulb memory is the

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Use your knowledge of the cognitive approach in psychology to describe and explain one contemporary issue or debate. The following essay will describe and explain Flash bulb memory using the knowledge of the cognitive approach. Flash bulb memory is the memory that is a long-lasting and vivid memory of a specific event and the context in which it occurred. The event is important and emotionally significant (e.g. a national or personal event). The term 'flashbulb' refers to the fact it is photographic image of the event and setting has been encoded, as the memory is so detailed and accurate. This theory of flash bulb memory was supported by different researchers for example Cohen et al (1994) and Brown and Kulik (1977). ...read more.


Cohen et al also predicted that true flashbulb memories are more enduring so less vulnerable to forgetting than other types of memory. The resignation of the former Conservative party leader Mrs Thatcher was used to test people's flashbulb memory. Younger and older adults were questioned a fortnight of Mrs Thatcher's resignation and they were then questioned 11 months later. The findings revealed that 90% of younger participants and 42% of older adults had flashbulb memory. It is hard to know whether the high levels of memory shown by the participants were due to the distinctiveness and emotional impact of the event or to the fact that the resignation was rehearsed. ...read more.


Cue dependency is when information is stored in memory but cannot be retrieved because of inadequate retrieval cues. However, a dramatic event for example the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 can be a cue to help one remember minor details at that time. Flashbulb memory can help us remember minor peripheral details such as what one was doing or wearing at the time of the event or how they were feeling and where they were. There is also a lot of experimental research to back up the theory of flashbulb memory such as Cohen et al (1994) and Brown and Kulik (1977). Along with the knowledge of cognitive approach e.g. Multi-store model and levels of processing. ...read more.

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