Flashbulb Memories Explained

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Flashbulb Memories Defined

We all have memories. Some memories are unique to our lives and they are vivid while others are slowly being forgotten. A flashbulb memory is "an extremely vivid memory of the conditions surrounding one’s first hearing the news of a surprising, shocking, or highly emotional event” (Wood, Wood, & Boyd 179).

We've All Experienced Flashbulb Memories

The events of September 11, 2001 is an example of flashbulb memory. As an exampled applied to myself, I remember the morning of September 11, 2001 when I first heard the news of the attacks on the twin towers.

I had just walked in late to my English classroom and the television was on a news channel showing the footage of the twin towers.

The room was dead quite, except I could hear my English teacher crying as she sat at her desk. I remember I asked my friend what was going on.

She told me a plane had hit the twin towers in New York and my teacher was crying because her sister worked at the towers or worked close to that area.

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We All Forget

My flashbulb memory of the events of September 11th seems to be lacking in certain details. I am sure my memory is not as exact as it was a few years ago.

In fact, “flashbulb memories appear to be forgotten at about the same rate and in the same ways as other kinds of memories” (Wood, Wood, & Boyd 179).

References:

  • Wood, S., Wood, E., Boyd, D. (2002). Mastering the World of Psychology. New Jersey: Pearson.

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