Memory Project- Flashbulb memory

Back in a flash by Pilar Celorio

What is a flashbulb memory and why I chose it.

The reason why I chose this topic was because my first option was already taken so I had to go with this. It seemed interesting so I decided to learn more about it. Flashbulb memory is when you remember a memory but remember every little detail of it. You remember what you were doing and how it happened, they are not necessarily accurate, and they can last for just a moment or they may be for a lifetime. These memories are not as accurate or permanent as photographic memories but it is less affected by time than any other. It can help sharpen the memory.
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What is happening in the brain?

Scientists and psychologists have said that these memories are tied to emotional arousal. The amygdala regulated the influence of emotion on memory. The reason why not all people have flashbulb memories is because the amygdala is not as involved. Studies have shown that when the amygdala is more involved is when people tend to have these flashbulb memories.

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The Research & Psychologist

Psychologists James Kulik and Roger Brown have defined it as the recall of significant historical events in 1977. Many people seem to have flashbulb memories from the assassination of presidents, these memories were triggered by a unique mechanism in the brain similar to that of taking a photograph of the event. David Rubin, a Duke University psychologist who has studied people's confidence in flashbulb memories, he says that Kulik and Brown's theory is wrong because the brain cannot take a picture of these events.

Interesting stuff

Here are some flashbulb memories of people who recall presidential assassinations!


On arrival in New York we caught a cab and headed for the city. The cab had no radio on. As fate would have it, the cabby missed a turn somewhere and we were off the highway, somewhere in Astoria, Queens, I think. We were stopped for a red light when a woman came out of her house screaming and crying. I rolled down the cab window to ask what the matter was… She told me that John Kennedy had just been shot in Dallas. We drove the rest of the way in silence.
— Richard Nixon’s memory of the Kennedy assassination

Although I was but four and a half years old when [the President] died, I distinctly remember the day when I found on our two white gate posts American flags companioned with black. I tumbled down on the harsh gravel walk in my eager rush into the house to inquire what they were “there for.” To my amazement I found my father in tears, something that I had never seen before, having assumed, as all children do, that grown-up people never cried. The two flags, my father’s tears, and his impressive statement that the greatest man in the world had died constituted my initiation…[into] a world lying quite outside the two white gate posts.
— Jane Addams’s memory of the Lincoln assassination


If you look up President George W. Bush's "flashbulb memories" from 9/11, he has changed his story so many times that not many people believe he had nothing to do with it. Of course, there are many conspiracy theories about what really happened on 9/11 but President Bush's so called "flashbulb memories" mismatch

Fun video!

Here is a video on how our brains remember 9/11 with some interesting facts by NYU. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM4KIw_2YPw