Flashbulb Memories Essay

2323 Words Nov 3rd, 2000 10 Pages
Human Memory 207,

Do Flashbulb memories differ from other forms of memory?

"Our past is preserved in a variety of memories of very different nature" (Salaman, 1970)

There are many proposed divisions and sub-divisions of human memory, such as working memory, procedural memory, semantic memory or episodic memory. Many of the systems seem to overlap, with each having varying functions related to the maintenance of
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As support for this they found that more blacks had FMs associated with the death of Martin Luther King compared to whites. Apparently this was due to an increased emotional personal consequentiallity felt their part of society. Therefore self referring prior knowledge of surprising important events is thought to support privileged encoding of FMs compared to other mundane memories. In support for this Livingstone (1967) proposed that when an event passes a certain biological criterion, the limbic system discharges into the reticular system, which further discharges throughout the cortical hemispheres. This firing above a certain level has been termed the "now print" mechanism. This system can be seen as being rather like the flash going off on a camera. However this view is criticised on the grounds that this "biological level" is not specifically identified.

In a further criticism Neisser (1982c) has claimed that FMs are not specially encoded and therefore not unique. Neisser proposed that FMs were Simply ordinary memories made clearer and longer lasting by frequent rehearsal after the event. This argument seems quite logical, as particularly in this global age the media and society frequently replay and retell events of extreme public attention or emotion. Flashbulb memories could therefore be seen as memories that have be actively reconstructed to such an extent that they can be clearly

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