Flashbulb Memory

Milena Ianni

Why I Chose This Topic

I chose this topic because it sounded the most interesting. I wasn't sure what it was when I started this project, but I have learned a lot about exactly what flashbulb memory is throughout.

So, what is flashbulb memory?

Flashbulb memories are distinct, long-lasting memories of a significant circumstance or shocking event in a person's life. Often times, these memories include what they were doing, who they were with, and where they were at the time of the event. Although flashbulb memories are not always accessible, they are permanent. Also, they may not always be accurate, but they are the most vivid of our memories.

What is going on in the brain?

When flashbulb memories are created, they are saved to both the hippocampus, which is responsible for day-to-day memories, and the amygdala, the part of the brain known for emotional memories.

Research & Psychologists

In 1977, the term flashbulb memory was coined by psychologist's Brown and Kulik to explain the effects of adrenaline on our brain and memories.

Many experiments have been done to see exactly what happens in the brain (explained in previous section), but the simplest research has been discovered by asking people questions about significant events that have occurred in their lifetime. For example, in 2000, psychologists Schmolk, Buffalo and Squire studied flashbulb memory by asking groups of American teenagers what they remembered when they heard the announcement of the verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial. They found that although many students had a vivid memory of the event, as time went on their memory became less accurate to what they had previously told psychologists. These incidents have confirmed previous psychologist's theories that although flashbulb memories linger for the rest of our lives, the accuracy declines as time goes on.
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