American University
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Recall, consistency, and determinants of flashbulb memories

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posted on 2023-08-04, 14:29 authored by Ali Izzet Tekcan

Two multi-group studies were conducted to investigate flashbulb (FB) memories for the death of the President of Turkey, Turgut Ozal. In Study 1, the recollections of two groups of participants (Turks living in Turkey and in North America) were obtained twice, two weeks and seven months after the event. in addition, two other groups (one in each location) were tested for the first time after seven months. In Study 2, four groups of participants (Turks living in Turkey and abroad as well as foreigners living in Turkey and abroad) attempted to recall the same event 38 months after the occurrence. The results of Study 1 showed that although Turks in Turkey and in North America differed from each other on the intensity of emotional reactions, frequency of rehearsal, and the amount and type of media exposures, the recall levels were similar and very high two weeks after the event, presumably due to the consequentiality of the event for both groups. Those who were tested only once after seven months in Study 1 also showed high levels of recall after seven months. Similarly, in Study 2, all groups except the foreigners abroad, showed a very high recall performance. However, when the participants were retested after seven months in Study 1, there were some inconsistencies between these recollections and their earlier ones. Both studies indicated a memory advantage for Turks living abroad; they were more consistent after seven months (Study 1) and they had higher recall levels after 38 months (Study 2). Results from both studies showed that the intensity of emotional reactions and, for some groups, surprise were related to higher levels of recall and consistency. In general, exposure to very high numbers of news items and frequent rehearsal of the target event as well as of the reception context was positively correlated with recall levels but negatively correlated with consistency. Study 2 also showed that interest in and knowledge about the target event seemed to be the most important variables in the formation of FB memories.







Ph.D. American University 1998.


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