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Flashblub Memory Discussion on the 9-1-1 Terrorist Attack

1). What are your thoughts on the content of this discussion below as it relates to flashblub memory. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

This person reflected back on the events that occurred on September 11, 2001 and this person will report as many details as they can remember about that day. This person may discuss which details appear to be clearer than others are.

2). Did you notice in this person's remembrance of that day whether any of the details were different than yours?

3). Did this person remember any details about that day that you did not?

In addition, this person will discuss what current research suggests about the accuracy of flashbulb memories.

This is their discussion:

One event that happened on September 11, 2001 that I know everyone remembers is the terrorist attack in America. The Twin Towers in New York were one of the targets; the Pentagon, and the White House were the other targets. I remember well waking up to get my daughters ready for school, turning on the Channel 4 news and then watching the first plane smash into one of the Twin Towers. I remember, saying "what movie is this?", and then the second plane hit the other Tower. I remember waking my husband up; he could not believe what had happened. I remember the firefighters trying to contain the situation, but to no avail. Their lives and other civilians' lives were overtaken by this attack. The reports came from the morning news live and that made it factual. I remember being in total disbelief.

What does current research suggest about the accuracy of flashbulb memories?

Flashbulb memory involves memory for the source of event information as opposed to memory for the event itself( Davidson, Cook, Glisky, Verfaellie, and Rapcsak). They also stated that new studies suggest that flashbulb memories arise simply when a person witnesses events first hand not from any special neural process.

Solution Preview

The memory depicted by the discussion has been doctored. Since the footage of the attack was saturating the news, both visually and in print, it is no surprise. First of all, the white house was never a target. Second, she could not have seen the first plane ram into the building, since that was not shown live. There was no footage of "firefighters" trying to contain the blaze, since the debris and smoke made it impossible for cameras to get that close. She heard about it later and slowly, it became part of her (and national) lore. Since she claims it was from the morning news "live," it makes her story untenable.

The interesting and disturbing fact is that flashbulb memories can also become distorted. The 9-11 event is an easy target because even news analysis changed events over time. Initial speculation became hardened dogma over that week. Political agendas were clearly involved, and these helped distort memories. No one ever saw the plane that hit the Pentagon. It should also be noted that within 10 minutes of the news coverage beginning that morning, Osama bin-Laden, who denied having anything to do with these attacks, was blamed for it. How could NBC have known that within 10-15 minutes. Oddly, the last "terror" attack Osama was blamed for was pushing a raft with explosives on it out to the USS Cole in 2000. It seemed odd to go from something so crude to something so involved, and then openly deny having any involvement.

Dan Greenberg of Duke University writes:

The content and organization of the memory may also have played a role. ...

Solution Summary

A flashblub memory discussion on the 9-1-1 terrorist attacks are determined. Whether a person's remembrance on the day of the details are different are determined.