Flashbulb Memory

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Psychology ・MLA ・4 Sources

Gizel warns the police that individuals are always looking for significance, thus their recollections may not accurately reflect their experiences and may merely be a reconstruction (Barlett 45). The pupils essentially state that Ms. Kubis taught them that people recreate the past to fit their own schemas. When the police emphasize the importance of the case, Minh points out that they had not seen the attacker's face and that the only information on the attacker's name was provided by the woman who was at the Rosehill. Finally, Zammy, Gizel, and Minh express tacitly that they now want to engage in the identifying process. As they head home, they discuss and are amazed by the ease with which an investigation process can lead to false identification. They resort to inform Ms. Kubis of the event when classes resume.

Question 1

Principally, the students, given their reconstruction of the event, are likely to determine that indeed the man was the one who committed the crime which may not necessarily be true. The students tell the police officers that since they were not near the event and had not seen the face of the witness, they cannot succinctly determine whether the arrested Syrian was the perpetrator of the vice.

My concerns about how the police carried out the investigation include the fact the police engaged leading questions in the investigation process. To begin with, they determine that the suspect has already been identified by the woman who was attacked. Similarly, they indicate that he is Syrian which serves to corroborate the “foreigner” call that was given by the woman who was attacked. According to Yullie & Cutshall, “students are more susceptible to suggestion” (291). The suggestions lead to confirmation bias or the response bias factor (Loftus & Palmer 586)). Similarly, the questions that the students were asked when the police arrived they engage leading questions which are an acknowledgment of the assertions which reinforce that the attacker was a foreigner.

Question 2

The flashbulb memory further also confirmation bias. According to Brown and Kulik flashbulb memories are often inaccurate (94). Therefore, the statement of the students may not be very reliable and cannot be used to fully conclude that the arrested Syrian was the perpetrator who stole the woman’s purse. This is because, flashbulb memory depends mostly on the interpretation of the respondent. Flashbulb memories are influenced by the telling schemas which in this case may entail the reinforcement of the assertions to the increased crime in the city with the increase in foreigners (Brown and Kulik 95). Media coverage on the fear of an increase in the number of crimes in New York City as a result of the new wave of immigrants may have served to influence the student’s schemas. Thus, they are likely to make statements based on the reconstructive memory which may be biased. Flashbulb memory is also subject to emotional balance or imbalance. Given the current inclinations against the foreigners, it is possible that the students’ statements may be based on the political utterances that are made by the people around them. Therefore, witness testimony by the student is not reliable.

Question 3

It is imperative that police avoid leading questions. They should desist from influencing the reconstruction of the events in the mind of the respondents as this will promote confirmation bias. Instead, the police should engage questions which are not limited by the constraints of the prevailing political sentiments. They should further have desisted from using pictures given that the students had only seen the back of the purported assailant. Flashbulb memory is more efficient when the observer is near the object (Brown and Kulik 77). Therefore, reconstruction of the event for the students is limited given their distance from the woman and the attacker at the time of the attack. The color of the eyes of the attacker is not relevant in such a case when questioning the students since their recollection is limited to the elements that they were able to see.

Works Cited

Barlett, Frederic C. Remembering: A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology . Cambridge University Press , 1932.

Brown, R. and J. Kulik. ""Flashbulb Memories."" Cognition 5.1 (1977): 73-99.

Loftus, E. F. and J. C. Palmer. ""Reconstruction of auto-mobile destruction: An example of the interaction between language and memory."" Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 13 (1974): 585-589.

Yuille, J. C. and J. L. Cutshall. ""A case study of eyewitness memory of a crime."" Journal of Applied Psychology 71.2 (1986): 291.

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