Thursday, April 15, 2010


today in class we were talking about how we all know where we were on 9/11, as do most people and it reminded me of something I learned in my memory and cognition course. Flashbulb memory. Normally memory lessens with time because of interference and what not, but flashbulb memory is a memory that defies time and remains clear. Flashbulb memory occurs when something traumatic or intensely significant (aka 9/11) occurs, the closer you are to the tragedy the stronger the memory. I guess we all could almost infer this info but just gives some scientific backup to the fact that although we were all what, 11 or 12? we remember the day in detail.


  1. That class sounds amazing. I'd love to know how the brain and memory work. But is it one of those classes that sound more interesting than it turns out to be? I am trying to think of any other moment that I would consider universal flashbulb memories... maybe when Brad left Jen?

  2. I, as well, am now trying to think of moments of flashbulb memory that I have attained. 9/11/01 certainly brings many images and instances into my mind. And so does my 4 year old preschool class when I accidentally knocked over our Class Caterpillar Cage, where our caterpillars had just turned into cocoons. I'll never forget watching those cocoons fall to the ground, knowing I'd ruined their chance of ever becoming a butterfly....what a very tragic moment for a little pre-schooler.

    But anyways, for me it's interesting to think of this Flashbulb memory as it applies to writing on the day of 9/11. As Phillip wrote in the entry right before, it is these text messages or little snippets and snap shots of information (yes...written information) which started the new literary movement. I remember one of my flashbulb memories from 9/11 was looking down at a written message, not a text message, but a message my mom had left with a secretary at my school. While the teachers had allowed us to use cell phones, no one's were working because of the antennae on the WTC. Written message said "Merrill Calotta, Class 6: Mother called. She is going to pick you up at 2pm. Family is fine and at home." Another flashbulb I have was walking outside and seeing the video tape of the plane crash on the news from a TV in a bar. This was the only day I ever walked home from school with my mom, and so we were able to walk by all of the bars and restaurants that remained open, unlike public transportation which shut down. The bars were packed at 2pm because all of the business people were sent home from the tall sky scrapers they worked in as a safety measure (that was also really weird for me to see as I walked by them while going home). Others in our class also talked about how they remember they were glued to the television the day of the attacks.

    Just thinking of how images and writing applies to 9/11, and even Postcards, it's interesting to think of what exactly impresses upon our Flashbulb memory.

  3. the class is interesting... its needed for sphr major, its a lot of memorizing studies on the brain mostly but cool if you understand the anatomy and can imagne it. There is also a neuropsyc course.
    for our generation I definitely think 9/11 is the most prominent but maybe michael jackson dying, strange

  4. I'll never forget watching those cocoons fall to the ground, knowing I'd ruined their chance of ever becoming a butterfly

    This is the saddest memory ever posted on this blog. Tears are welling up as I type.

  5. I'm intrigued by this idea of trying to find another universal flashbulb memory. For me the night of "shock and awe" when we first started bombing Baghdad definitely stands out. I remember sitting on the very edge of my living room chair staring at the TV and thinking to myself "this is the night that will change everything." Okay, I was a bit of a melodramatic 13 year old. But I really felt in that moment that a generation like mine who had never watched their military launch a purely offensive and brutal attack would be deeply affected. Today I'm still not sure if I was wrong. It seems like a lot has changed, but I suppose only time will tell.