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Michael Jackson, Bin Laden and I: Functions of positive and negative, public and private flashbulb memories


Demiray, Burcu; Freund, Alexandra M (2015). Michael Jackson, Bin Laden and I: Functions of positive and negative, public and private flashbulb memories. Memory, 23(4):487-506.

Abstract

This study examined the perceived psychosocial functions of flashbulb memories: It compared positive and negative public flashbulb memories (positive: Bin Laden's death, negative: Michael Jackson's death) with private ones (positive: pregnancy, negative: death of a loved one). A sample of n = 389 young and n = 176 middle-aged adults answered canonical category questions used to identify flashbulb memories and rated the personal significance, the psychological temporal distance, and the functions of each memory (i.e., self-continuity, social-boding, directive functions). Hierarchical regressions showed that, in general, private memories were rated more functional than public memories. Positive and negative private memories were comparable in self-continuity and directionality, but the positive private memory more strongly served social functions. In line with the positivity bias in autobiographical memory, positive flashbulb memories felt psychologically closer than negative ones. Finally, middle-aged adults rated their memories as less functional regarding self-continuity and social-bonding than young adults. Results are discussed regarding the tripartite model of autobiographical memory functions.

Abstract

This study examined the perceived psychosocial functions of flashbulb memories: It compared positive and negative public flashbulb memories (positive: Bin Laden's death, negative: Michael Jackson's death) with private ones (positive: pregnancy, negative: death of a loved one). A sample of n = 389 young and n = 176 middle-aged adults answered canonical category questions used to identify flashbulb memories and rated the personal significance, the psychological temporal distance, and the functions of each memory (i.e., self-continuity, social-boding, directive functions). Hierarchical regressions showed that, in general, private memories were rated more functional than public memories. Positive and negative private memories were comparable in self-continuity and directionality, but the positive private memory more strongly served social functions. In line with the positivity bias in autobiographical memory, positive flashbulb memories felt psychologically closer than negative ones. Finally, middle-aged adults rated their memories as less functional regarding self-continuity and social-bonding than young adults. Results are discussed regarding the tripartite model of autobiographical memory functions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:23 Jul 2014 08:57
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 06:36
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0965-8211
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2014.907428
PubMed ID:24758437

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