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Flashbulb memory

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Introduction

´╗┐Flashbulb Memory Brown and Kulik proposed a theory of the formation and maintenance of FBMs. According to their theory, FBMs form in situations where we encounter surprising and highly emotional information. They are maintained by means of overt rehearsal (involving discussion with others) and covert rehearsal (private rehearsing or ruminating). They differ from other memories in that they are more vivid, last longer, and are more consistent and accurate. In order for them to be created, they require the involvement of a specialised neural mechanism which stores information permanently in a unique memory system. ...read more.

Middle

They were also asked to indicate how often they had rehearsed the information. These events were expected to cause FBMs. The assassination of J.F.K in 1963 led to the highest number of FBMs with 90% of the participants recalling its reception context in vivid detail. African Americans reported more FBMs for leaders of civil rights movements (e.g. assassination of MLK) than Caucasian Americans. Most participants recalled a personal FBM which tended to be related to learning about the death of a parent Findings from this study are clearly consistent with Brown and Kulik?s theory. ...read more.

Conclusion

Williams et al. (2008) conclude their discussion of FBM by noting that Brown and Kulik identified two important determinants of FBMs: event importance and event emotionality. The third factor, surprise, is not so well supported by relevant research. Some of the properties Brown and Kulik ascribe to FBMs, like permanence and consistency, are disputed, whereas others, like confidence and vividness, are better supported by relevant research. The claim that has fared least well is their assumption that flashbulb memory is a special memory system based on a dedicated neural mechanism. Few nowadays would accept this aspect of Brown and Kulik?s theory. What is certain, though, is that their pioneering work has generated a lot of research about the relation between emotion and cognition. ...read more.

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