lec06-3 - Flashbulb Memories Eyewitness Testimony...

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Flashbulb Memories Psychology 355: Cognitive Psychology Winter Quarter 2009 2/11/2009
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 2 Outline • Flashbulb memories – what are they? • Are flashbulb memories different from regular memories? How do they change over time? • Do flashbulb memories involve different memory mechanisms than ordinary memories? ------------------------------------ •E y ew i t n e
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 3 Flashbulb Memories • Hypothesis: Memory for dramatic events is analogous to creating a permanent photographic image by using a flashbulb with a camera. (What is a flashbulb?) • Many people share very distinctive memories for major events. o Where were you and what were you doing when you first heard about the attack on the World Trade Center? o Where were you and what were you doing when you first heard about explosion of the Challenger shuttle? o If you have ever been in a car accident, do you have memories of the very first car accident that you were in? • Are flashbulb memories psychologically different from everyday memories? Next: What Creates a Memory that Lasts a Long Time?
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 4 What Creates Memories that Last a Long Time? • Elaborative rehearsal (thinking about an event) • Distributed "practice" as opposed to massed "practice" • Distinctiveness • Personal importance • Strong emotions enhance memory o Hamann, Ely, Grafton, & Kilts (1999): PET study. o Showed subject very pleasant, very unpleasant and neutral pictures. o Emotionally charged pictures produced stronger amygdala response, and better memory. o Cahill, Babinsky, Markowitsch, & McGaugh (1995). Patient with damaged amygdala (B. P.) had normal memory for unemotional narratives, but did not show enhanced memory for emotional parts of a narrative (most people have enhanced memory for emotional parts). Next: Do FBM's Involve a Special Memory Mechanism?
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5 A Special Memory Mechanism for Flashbulb Memories (FBMs)? Pro: Special Mechanism • FBMs are consequential – they have high impact on our lives. • FBMs often produce strong emotions. Con: Special Mechanism • Narrative rehearsal hypothesis – we think repeatedly about these events (rehearsal activity in phonological loop or visuaspatial sketchpad). They are only special because of this rehearsal. • Just because we have vivid memories for FBMs doesn't mean that the memories are accurate. Next: Are FBM's Accurate?
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This note was uploaded on 10/05/2009 for the course PSYCH 355 taught by Professor Miyamoto during the Winter '08 term at University of Washington.

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lec06-3 - Flashbulb Memories Eyewitness Testimony...

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