Flashbulb Memories


Expected sources

Textbook: Chapter 6, 7, 8, 9

Minimum of 2 outside scholarly articles (recent – 2018 and above)


Flashbulb memories are memories about a specific event that are so vivid it creates a “snapshot” of the event. Examples of well-known flashbulb memory events include the 9/11 attacks, Challenger disaster, and the MLK or JFK assassinations.

Research the phenomenon of flashbulb memories. Discuss the major theorists, main characteristics of flashbulb memories and the major criticisms of these types of memories. Now, identify a personal example of a flashbulb memory and describe in detail what you were doing when you heard the news of this event (what was the time? who were you with? what was the first thing you thought of when you heard the news?).

Thinking back to when your flashbulb memory event occurred. How confident are you about the accuracy of your responses about this event? Is the experience of your flashbulb memory event consistent with the characteristics and/or criticisms of flashbulb memories?

Writing Requirements (APA format)

Length: 2.5 pages (not including Title and References pages)

Textbook: Feldman, R. (2018). Understanding psychology (14th Ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.


Flashbulb Memories

For most people, highly emotional events are recalled better than routine or ordinary events (Feldman, 2018). Guided by this observation, Roger Brown and James Kulik proposed the theory of flashbulb memories in 1977, specifically after examining memories of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. Their findings suggested that individuals experienced very vivid memories with regard to how, when, and where they received the tragic news, including details such as the weather, what they were doing, and the smell in the air. Therefore, the proposed theory suggests various characteristics of flashbulb memories. For instance, they are memories of highly emotional events and will be remarkably detailed, clear, and accurate (Feldman, 2018). Additionally, as Muzzulini et al. (2020) state, the highly emotional events will be recalled as vividly as a photograph, and the moments are perfectly captured in these memories. Additionally, in these memories, people will remember all exact details surrounding the highly emotional events, such as who they were with, where they were, and the time of the event. A study by Tali Sharot and collogues supports the theory of flashbulb memories by stating that emotional arousal is correlated to recall and that these memories have a unique neural basis (Muzzulini et al., 2020).

On the other hand, there are criticisms of the theory of flashbulb memories especially based on the argument that they are not exceptionally accurate. According to Neisser, there is no correlation between emotional arousal and recall, and individuals seem to remember highly emotional events because they are likely to share them with other people over and over, thus rehearsing it (Kopp et al., 2020). However, these memories become embellished or distorted over time, especially when the events are less shared. Another criticism is made by Talarico and Rubin, who argue that flashbulb memories are viewed as special from an individual perception of their accuracy because besides being more confident with regard to their remembrance, there are limited differences between normal memories and flashbulb memories (Kopp et al., 2020). Thus, the emotional response is based on the perception of accuracy rather than the actual accuracy of the highly emotional event…………for help with this assignment contact us via email Address: consulttutor10@gmail.com

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