Eyewitness Testimony And Memory: Flashbulb Memory

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Any types of memories that involve strong emotions tend to leave a permanent marks in our system and all it takes is a moment. Yet, it takes more times to process general knowledge and experiences into our memories. General memories had to be pair up with effective retrieval cues in order to be more easier to access. While for memories associated with strong emotions, all we need is to witness a traumatic event. Psychologically, they are known as flashbulb memories. However, no matter how fascinating memories work; they are still our perspectives of reality. That’s why, even if flashbulb memories are more vivid and long lasting than other memories, it is still fallible.
Every piece of information we learn need to go through 3 stages of processes;
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Through our perception, we are able to make memories of our surrounding and able to reuse it when we needed it. In a recent lecture given at UCSC, Ben Storm asserted that “perception is a constructive representation of reality”. What it means is that we conceive memories with biases and based on our experiences. We are not viewing the world as it is, but the way our brain is designed. In the reading, “Eyewitness Testimony and Memory Bias”, Laney and Loftus, supports this thesis by commenting on that people make mistakes in their memories by mixing up details and places across time and “because many aspects of our everyday lives are full of redundancies, our memory systems take advantage of the recurring patterns by forming and using schemata, or memory templates” (para. 19). Thus, we expect to see objects or events happening, even if it does not exist. This is a point that contradict why flashbulb memories are only trustworthy to some extent as we construct our memories based on what we had experienced before and it may includes facts and information that do not exist in reality. We lack attention in details that are hard to notice based on our assumptions of certain things. The reality in our memories, to some extent, can happened at the same time and yet it never did. Flashbulb memories main component is heightened emotions, which have a great affect on how clear we memorize it; yet it is also the factor where our biases come from and affect the way we perceive the actual

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