Affect and Accuracy in Recall: Studies of 'Flashbulb' by Eugene Winograd, Ulric Neisser

By Eugene Winograd, Ulric Neisser

Memories of unforeseen and emotional occasions (called "flashbulb" thoughts) have lengthy been the topic of theoretical hypothesis. The fourth Emory Symposium on Cognition introduced jointly all people who has performed examine on thoughts of the Challenger explosion, with a view to achieve higher figuring out of the phenomenon of flashbulb stories: How do flashbulb stories examine with different kinds of memories? Are they strangely actual, or particularly long-lived? Do they replicate the task of a distinct mechanism, as has been urged? The publication additionally addresses extra common problems with impact and accuracy: Do emotion and arousal boost reminiscence? if this is the case, less than what stipulations? by means of what physiological mechanisms?

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Extra resources for Affect and Accuracy in Recall: Studies of 'Flashbulb' Memories (Emory Symposia in Cognition)

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Now, they add two well-controlled episodes to the body of examples of inaccuracies in flashbulbs (Harsch & Neisser, 1989; McCloskey, Wible, & Cohen, 1988; Neisser, 1982; Neisser & Harsch, this volume). Such examples have been used to argue that special memory mechanisms of the kind proposed by Brown and Kulik (1977) to explain flashbulb memories are unfounded because the putative flashbulbs are inaccurate and vulnerable to forgetting, just like ordinary memories. But just how inaccurate and fragile are ordinary memories?

1988) that experiences of learning about events are comparable, without qualifications, to direct experiences of events - that is, that flashbulb memories are conceptually continuous with ordinary autobiographical memories. Rather, the view expounded here is similar to Pillemer's (1990) by insisting that memory of learning about an event is an instance of memory of personal circumstances. In the case of news events, a more detailed analysis is given in Larsen (1988a). Only a few points need to be elaborated.

Although they produce strong feelings, those feelings are not intrinsically linked to the personally experienced sequence of events that began on hearing the news. Moreover, that sequence itself may not follow any familiar script. When some fragment of the event later comes to mind, how can the subject tell if it was the beginning 28 U. NEISSER AND N. HARSCH of the sequence or occurred only later? This kind of uncertainty is rare with respect to directly experienced events, which usually have a clearer structure.

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Categories: Behavioral Sciences