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Mem Cognit. 2007 Apr;35(3):565-77.

Pleasantness bias in flashbulb memories: positive and negative flashbulb memories of the fall of the Berlin Wall among East and West Germans.

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Department of Psychology, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.


Flashbulb memories for the fall of the Berlin Wall were examined among 103 East and West Germans who considered the event as either highly positive or highly negative. The participants in the positive group rated their memories higher on measures of reliving and sensory imagery, whereas their memory for facts was less accurate than that of the participants in the negative group. The participants in the negative group had higher ratings on amount of consequences but had talked less about the event and considered it less central to their personal and national identity than did the participants in the positive group. In both groups, rehearsal and the centrality of the memory to the person's identity and life story correlated positively with memory qualities. The results suggest that positive and negative emotions have different effects on the processing and long-term retention of flashbulb memories.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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