Examine how one theory of emotion may affect one cognitive process

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One theory of how emotion affects the cognitive process of memory is by a process known as a Flashbulb Memory. The theory is that these Flashbulb Memories will not only enhance the memory itself, but will make certain aspects of the memory more vivid and detailed. First, the Flashbulb Memory should be defined. Flashbulb memories are emotional memories that are remembered with great vivid detail and are almost photo like. For example, if someone were to experience a horrid natural disaster, they would most likely remember the situation more vividly than people not actually there. This instance is exactly what Brown and Kulik were trying to show in 1977, and what Conway was trying to express in 1994. They were dealing with the concept of…show more content…
Like the experiment done by Conway et al, Neisser and Harsch investigated people’s memory accuracy of the incident 24 hours after the explosion and then again two years after. The results were: one day after the disaster, 215 of the participants said that they heard about the disaster on television. Two and a half years later 45% of the participants claimed to have heard of the event on the television. Their memories of how they learned the news about the challenger disaster changed over time and was a huge loophole in the studies in favor of flashbulb memory. Through this study it can be concluded that flashbulb memories are not reliable and may in fact just be ordinary memories.
From Brown and Kulik to Neisser and Harsch we arrive at completely different conclusions. There are many strengths to these studies, as they were all with real events that would have affected people emotionally, but some of the studies were lacking in validity. The studies that recorded before and after seemed to be more compelling than the ones that just assumed a certain answer. However, the longer the duration of time between the before and after results most likely produced more variables being tested, rather than just one. Based on the studies outlined it only seems accurate that these flashbulb memories actually exist and affect our memory. The real analysis of these findings are how they actually influence behavior. Emotion can affect memory, and ultimately behavior in someone’s life.
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