Sunday, April 11, 2010

9/11 Study Reveals How Flashbulb Memories Form

This article focuses on a study that reveals how flashbulb memories occur. The reason I found this article interesting was because it talks about the same 9/11 study we were talking about in class. The study suggests that memories occur when experiencing an event first hand.. for example, the people who experienced the tragedy of 9/11 on site have a more vivid recollection of the attack than others in New York or anywhere else for that matter. "Although all of the study’s subjects were in Manhattan on 9/11, the recollections of those who were in lower Manhattan, closer to the World Trade Centre, were described as more vivid, detailed, and confident than those who were further away," said Prof Phelps. The result to this caused from an emotional memory in the brain from the 9/11 experience. The study shows that the amygdala, which is the region of the brain that is linked to a person's mental and emotional state, is involved because it is known to play a distinct role in enhancing the feeling of remembering different emotional material. The study, similar to our teacher's study on 9/11 involved 24 participants who were in NY the day of 9/11. The 24 participants were tested by asking to recall their their memories on the terrorist attacks along with their distinct auto-biological events from the summer of 2001. The participants were then asked to rate their memories on a scale of vividness, detail, and confidence of accuracy. These questions indicated the qualitative nature of the memory experience. The conclusion of the experience : only half of the participants reported with greater vividness, confidence, and detail when recalling events on 9/11. Participants closer to the world trade center have included specific details in their own written memories were more likely to report first hand experiences with terrorist attack. Upon our last class lecture and now reading this article, it makes perfect sense as to why flashbulb memories are considered highly detailed flash backs of events, especially in this particular case study with 9/11 and one's own relocation of it's events.

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