The processes of memory and recollection are critical for understanding the human mind. Although considerable research has been done with respect to these issues, much of what is known about memory and recall is theoretical in nature. Thus, while modern psychologists and medical scientists have a basic rudimentary understanding of how memory and recall occur, quantification of these processes remains an elusive task.With the realization that memory and recall represent such notable challenges for quantification, there is a clear impetus to examine what research has been published on these subjects such that a more integral understanding of memory and recall can be garnered. To this end, this investigation examines scholarly literature on the phenomenon of flashbulb memory. Through a careful consideration of what has been written about this subject and the research that has been conducted in this area, it will be possible to elucidate the overall complexity of memory and recall. Further, by examining the specific issues surrounding flashbulb memories, it will be possible to demonstrate that the special mechanism hypothesis of flashbulb memory creation is not valid.
[...] However, in reviewing the literature on these claims, McCloskey and coworkers argue that there have been no specific methods developed or implemented to substantiate the vividness of flashbulb memories. Further, these researchers point to other investigations which demonstrate that flashbulb memories are not the memories that are described when respondents are asked to provide an account of their most vivid memories. Based on both the empirical and logical data available, the authors conclude that the special mechanism hypothesis for flashbulb memories is not valid. [...]
[...] Much like Hoyert and O'Dell (2000) argued in their investigation of flashbulb memories, while these memories mark a unique event in the life of the individual, these events do nothing more than provide researchers with a specific example with which the basics of memory formation can be analyzed in depth. An examination of the research completed by McCloskey, Wible and Cohen (1988) on this subject coupled with the information gleaned from flashbulb memories in older adults (Cohen, Conway & Maylor, 1994; Tekcan and Peynircioglu, 2002) clearly demonstrates the fact [...]
[...] In an effort to understand the differences in the recollection of flashbulb memories, Tekcan and Peynircioglu focus their attention on the specific constructs and characteristics of memory that are critical for recall. As noted by these authors, “Such persistence of the earlier FB memory might also point to the role of personal importance attached to an event and its subsequent rehearsal as tow very crucial factors in maintaining very long- term memories” (p. 420). This assertion has notable ramifications for disproving the special mechanism hypothesis for flashbulb memories. [...]
[...] For instance, Cohen, Conway and Maylor (1994) examined the flashbulb memories of both young and elderly adults to the resignation announcement of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Subjects in the elderly group = 60) were drawn from a volunteer sample with a median age of 71.6 years. The young group = 60) was drawn from university students. The median age of this group was 22.4 years. Subject were asked to complete a questionnaire about the even between 4 and 10 days after it occurred. [...]
[...] According to McCloskey, Wible and Cohen (1988) note that when the phenomenon of flashbulb memory was first described in 1977, the authors exploring this issue argued that the presence of flashbulb memories implied existence of a special memory mechanism that creates a detailed, permanent records of the individual's experience when triggered by an event exceeding critical levels of surprise and consequentiality” (p. 171). Through the analysis of both logical and empirical evidence, McCloskey, Wible and Cohen are able to demonstrate that flashbulb memory does not induce a special flashbulb memory mechanism. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee