Confidence, not consistency, characterizes flashbulb memories.
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On September 12, 2001, 54 Duke students recorded their memory of first hearing about the terrorist attacks of September 11 and of a recent everyday event. They were tested again either 1, 6, or 32 weeks later. Consistency for the flashbulb and everyday memories did not differ, in both cases declining over time. However, ratings of vividness, recollection, and belief in the accuracy of memory declined only for everyday memories. Initial visceral emotion ratings correlated with later belief in accuracy, but not consistency, for flashbulb memories. Initial visceral emotion ratings predicted later posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Flashbulb memories are not special in their accuracy, as previously claimed, but only in their perceived accuracy.
Life Change Events
New York City
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1111/1467-9280.02453
Publication InfoRubin, David C; & Talarico, JM (2003). Confidence, not consistency, characterizes flashbulb memories. Psychol Sci, 14(5). pp. 455-461. 10.1111/1467-9280.02453. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/10118.
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Juanita M. Kreps Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
For .pdfs of all publications click here My main research interest has been in long-term memory, especially for complex (or "real-world") stimuli. This work includes the study of autobiographical memory