- flashbulb memory
- A term introduced in or shortly before 1977 by the American psychologists Roger William Brown (1925-1997) and James Kulik to denote a detail-perfect memory of an event that at the time ofwitnessing had evoked a high level ofsur-prise, as well as a high level of consequential-ity and/or emotional arousal. Some examples of such notable events given by Brown and Kulik are the assassinations ofJohn F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. Brown and Kulik suggest that such events are capable of mediating the taking of a 'mental photograph' that preserves the scene in its entirety, and in great detail. Flashbulb memories tend to be classified as memory images not hallucinations. However, it has been suggested that they are related in a conceptual and phenomenological sense (and perhaps also in a pathophysiological sense) with other mnestic events such as * flashbacks in PTSD, drug-related *flashbacks, *hallucinogen-induced persistent perception disorder (HPPD), *palinopsia, *phantom pain, * reperceptive hallucinations, and * eidetic imagery. Whether the phe-nomenological characteristics of flashbulb memories warrant their treatment as an independent category of mnestic phenomena is still a subject of debate. The claim of phenomenolog-ical accuracy in particular has been disputed, as well as the existence of a visual imagery memory system dedicated to producing flashbulb memories.ReferencesBrown, R., Kulik, J. (1977). Flashbulb memories. Cognition, 5, 73-99.Sierra, M., Berrios, G.E. (2000). Flashbulb and flashback memories .In: Memory disorders in psychiatric practice. Edited by Berrios, G.E., Hodges, J.R. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.