Flashbulb memory

Flashbulb memories are highly detailed, exceptionally vivid ‘snapshots’ of the moment and circumstances in which surprising and consequential (or emotionally arousing) news was heard.[1] Flashbulb memories have six characteristic features: place, ongoing activity, informant, own affect, other affect, and aftermath.[1] Flashbulb memories are believed to be highly resistant to forgetting. Arguably, the principal determinants of a flashbulb memory are a high level of surprise, a high level of consequentiality, or perhaps emotional arousal. Flashbulb memory is an appropriate name for the phenomenon in that it suggests surprise, an indiscriminate illumination, and brevity. The name is inappropriate, however, in that an actual photograph, taken by flashbulb, is indiscriminate and preserves everything within its scope. Flashbulb memories, in actuality, are only somewhat indiscriminate and are far from complete.

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