In the present study, we examined the relation between memory for a consequential and emotional event and memory for the circumstances in which people learned about that event, known as flashbulb memory. We hypothesized that these two types of memory have different determinants and that event memory is not necessarily a direct causal determinant of flashbulb memory. Italian citizens (N = 352) described their memories of Italy’s victory in the 2006 FootballWorld Cup Championship after a delay of 18months. Structural equation modeling showed that flashbulb memory and event memory could be clearly differentiated and were determined by two separate pathways. In the first pathway, importance predicted emotional intensity, which, in turn, predicted the frequency of overt and covert rehearsal. Rehearsal was the only direct determinant of vivid and detailed flashbulb memories. In the second pathway, importance predicted rehearsal by media exposure, which enhanced the accuracy and certainty of event memory. Event memory was also enhanced by prior knowledge. These results have important implications for the debate concerning whether the formation of flashbulb memory and event memory involve different processes and for understanding how flashbulb memory can be simultaneously so vivid and so error-prone.

Distinct processes shape flashbulb and event memories

TINTI, Carla;SCHMIDT, Susanna;TESTA, Silvia;
2014

Abstract

In the present study, we examined the relation between memory for a consequential and emotional event and memory for the circumstances in which people learned about that event, known as flashbulb memory. We hypothesized that these two types of memory have different determinants and that event memory is not necessarily a direct causal determinant of flashbulb memory. Italian citizens (N = 352) described their memories of Italy’s victory in the 2006 FootballWorld Cup Championship after a delay of 18months. Structural equation modeling showed that flashbulb memory and event memory could be clearly differentiated and were determined by two separate pathways. In the first pathway, importance predicted emotional intensity, which, in turn, predicted the frequency of overt and covert rehearsal. Rehearsal was the only direct determinant of vivid and detailed flashbulb memories. In the second pathway, importance predicted rehearsal by media exposure, which enhanced the accuracy and certainty of event memory. Event memory was also enhanced by prior knowledge. These results have important implications for the debate concerning whether the formation of flashbulb memory and event memory involve different processes and for understanding how flashbulb memory can be simultaneously so vivid and so error-prone.
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Carla Tinti;Susanna Schmidt;Silvia Testa;Linda J. Levine
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/144181
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