AGE RELATED DIFFERENCES IN FLASHBULB MEMORIES
Ellie Irving, Elena Jones, and Dr. Kristi S. Multhaup
Flashbulb memories are particularly vivid memories for learning that specific events occurred. Psychologists have studied whether there are age-related differences in the frequency and experiencing of flashbulb memories. This poster examines the common measures of the 11 published flashbulb memory studies that include older and younger adult groups. At least 10 of the 11 studies investigated how often participants thought about the event (rehearsal), if older adults lacked detail in their memory, the intensity of the emotion experienced at learning the news, and whether there was a decline in memory for details of the event over time. Of these variables, only rehearsal showed an age-related difference in the majority of studies; older adults rehearsed most. Of the nine additional measures examined, only two were found by all three studies that examined them: (a) older adults had lower recall scores for free compared with probed recall and (b) older adults had lower recall than younger adults for ordinary events compared to flashbulb memories. Few studies found age-related differences in the ability to form flashbulb memories or emotions experienced at encoding. Most studies found no age-related decline in memory detail or confidence in memory. The age-related differences in flashbulb memories are complex.