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Psychol Sci. 2003 Sep;14(5):455-61.

Confidence, not consistency, characterizes flashbulb memories.

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1
Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.

Abstract

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.

PMID:
12930476
DOI:
10.1111/1467-9280.02453
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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