The following essay will describe and explain Flash bulb memory using the knowledge of the cognitive approach. Flash bulb memory is the

489 Words2 Pages
Use your knowledge of the cognitive approach in psychology to describe

and explain one contemporary issue or debate.

The following essay will describe and explain Flash bulb memory using

the knowledge of the cognitive approach. Flash bulb memory is the

memory that is a long-lasting and vivid memory of a specific event and

the context in which it occurred. The event is important and

emotionally significant (e.g. a national or personal event). The term

‘flashbulb’ refers to the fact it is photographic image of the event

and setting has been encoded, as the memory is so detailed and

accurate.

This theory of flash bulb memory was supported by different

researchers for example Cohen et al (1994) and Brown and Kulik (1977).

In the Brown and Kulik (1977) experiment they put forward that

flashbulb memories are not only accurate but also very long lasting,

but also include the following information; informant, place were the

news was heard, ongoing event, individuals own emotional state and

consequences of the event for the individual. To carry out this

experiment Brown and Kulik asked 80 participants what they were doing

at the time of hearing about President Kennedy’s assassination. They

found out most of the people recalled quite well what they were doing,

showing us that flashbulb memories are a unique type of memory that is

immune from the usual process of decay and distortion.

Cohen et al also predicted that true flashbulb memories are more

enduring so less vulnerable to forgetting than other types of memory.

The resignation of the former Conservative party leader Mrs Thatcher

was used to test people’s flashbulb memory. Younger and older adults

were questioned a fortnight of Mrs Thatcher’s resignation and they

were then questioned 11 months later. The findings revealed that 90%

of younger participants and 42% of older adults had flashbulb memory.

It is hard to know whether the high levels of memory shown by the

participants were due to the distinctiveness and emotional impact of

the event or to the fact that the resignation was rehearsed.

    More about The following essay will describe and explain Flash bulb memory using the knowledge of the cognitive approach. Flash bulb memory is the

      Open Document