COUNTER first demonstrated by Brown and Kulik in

COUNTER STUDY: FLASHBULB MEMORY “How does crime affect the memory?” Crime can affect memory, either way, it can make your memory really strong, or it can completely distort it. Crime can make your memory really strong/accurate because the event can hit you really hard. An example is flashbulb memory,  flashbulb memories is a special kind of emotional memory, which refers to vivid and detailed (photographic-like) memories of highly emotional events that appear to be recorded in the brain as though with the help of a ‘cameras. There have been many studies which support flashbulb memory making eyewitness testimony reliable and memory reliable. The flashbulb theory was first demonstrated by Brown and Kulik in 1977.  The aim of their study was to support the flashbulb theory and explore how it works. In the study, Brown and Kulik interviewed 80 Americans; 40 African Americans and 40 Caucasian Americans.  Participants were asked to answer questions about 10 events. 9 of these events were mostly on assassinations or attempted assassinations of well-known American personalities. The last event was self-selected of personal events that included self-shock. Participants were asked how much they rehearsed these events, either overly (rehearsal by discussing with other people) or covertly (rehearsing to themselves). The results showed that  J.F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 led to the most flashbulb memories of all participants. 90% of participants recalled this in context and with vivid detail. They also found that African Americans recalled more flashbulb memories of civil right leaders; e.g. the assassination of Martin Luther King more than the Caucasians recalled it. This showed that the closer they were to the culture and if the event meant a lot the event would be recalled as a flashbulb memory. For the tenth event (which was self-selected) most participants recalled shocking events like the death of a parent. Through the study carried out by Brown and Kulik, we know that flashbulb memories exist.  They also discovered when and why flashbulb memories occur. They found out that they form in situations where we encounter surprising and highly emotional information, they are maintained by means of overt and covert rehearsal, they differ from other memories in that they are more vivid, last longer and are more consistent and accurate. Flashbulb memories lead to eyewitness testimony being reliable because certain events can be so shocking or emotion which sticks in your mind like a flashbulb, as described in the study conducted by Brown and Kulik.  Or crime can completely distort your memory, as demonstrated by the supporting case studies of Ronald Cotton, Bennett Barbour, and Troy Davis. In all of those cases, memory was either reconstructed or distorted which led to eyewitness testimony is unreliable. Factors like emotions, leading questions came in and caused the distortion of memory, making eyewitness testimony and memory unreliable. CONCLUSION:Looking at all the factors, and case studies, coming back to the question “How does crime affect memory?” One can conclude that crime does affect memory, and it affects it in a negative way. It distorts and reconstructs memory of the victim and the eyewitness of the crime. Shown through the cases of Ronald Cotton, Bennett Barbour, and Troy Davis, crime does affect memory and factors such as schemas, leading questions, anxiety and stress did interfere and distort the memory of the victim or eyewitness. After seeing all the evidence and case studies, we are sure to say that crime affects memory in a negative way, it distorts it. Knowing this, memory can not be always trusted, and it is not in our control.


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