again and again. The Trace Memory and its evidence Flashbulb memories – Brown and Kulik (1977) - Flashbulb memories – Vivid, detailed memories of significant events - I.e. In 1970, when 80 Harvard students were asked what they remembered from J.F Kennedy’s assassination, most came up with: o Where they were when they learned about it
o What they were doing o The person who told them o Their affect and emotions o The aftermath (what they did immediately after hearing the news) - Now Print! Theory – The theory that especially significant experiences are immediately photocopied and preserved in long-term memory o This theory was used by Brown and Kulik as a base o Occurs in the third stage o Briefly, flashbulb memories are examples of highly detailed memory trace The five stages of Flashbulb Memories 1) The stimulus event is tested for surprisingess. If the stimulus is irrelevant, no attention will be paid to it 2) The event is tested for consequentiality; event failing this test will be forgotten. If the stimulus is considered important, the third stage will begin 3) Flashbulb memories are formed 4) Rehearsal occurs in our heads. 5) We tell those accounts to other people Investigating the flashbulb hypothesis Study : Space Shuttle Explosion and Memory (Mcloskey and Al) After the space shuttle explosion, 27 P’s were asked what they remembered about the circumstances of the accident, right after the accident and then again 9 months later Result: - Comparison of the immediate and nine-month questionnaire data showed that quite a bit of information had been lost over the interval, and that details were NOT consistent. - The lack of consistency, however, seemed to be the same one as for ordinary memory; where information that cannot be retrieved is filled with guess work Conclusion – Flashbulb memory might not actually be a “particular kind of memory, but only a memory that we rehearse more often, which would explain its higher vividness. Study : Flashbulb memory and Confidence 54 Duke students fill out an open-handed questionnaire. From these questionnaires, the experimenter gets descriptions of things the students did the day before, and also of an ordinary event, such as something they recently experienced. Emotional intensity was also measured. The P’s were then separated into three groups where one was re-tested a week after, the second was tested 6 weeks later, and the third 32 weeks later. Results: - Flashbulb memories were NOT better remembered than ordinary memories - Flashbulb memories were described with more confidence (P’s thought their flashbulb memory was more better)
Are Memory Traces Permanent? - Consolidation Memory – The classic theory that memory traces of an event are not fully formed immediately after that event, but take some time to consolidate - Retroactive Interference – A decline in the recall of one event as a result of a later event; disrupts the process of consolidation.
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- Cognitive Psychology