Western Undergraduate Psychology Journal

Article Title

How Much do We Really Remember About 9/11? A Critical Analysis of the Neuroscience Behind Flashbulb Memories


“I remember it like it was yesterday” is a phrase often heard in relation to an emotional and vivid memory of some episode. Brown and Kulik (1977) defined these memories in the context of momentous public events as “flashbulb memories.” Many remember where they were or who they were with when they heard of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. However, an emerging body of literature suggests that the defining characteristic of these flashbulb memories is the confidence in their accurate recall, rather than their true accuracy. This paper examines the issues of confidence and memory as they relate to 9/11 and whether stress at the time of encoding merely improves the confidence of recall.

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