In general, younger adults form flashbulb memories more readily than older adults. One study examined age related differences in flashbulb memories: participants were tested for memory within 14 days of an important event and then retested for memory of the same event 11 months later. Even 11 months after the event occurred nearly all the younger adults experienced flashbulb memories, but less than half of the older adults met all the criterion of a flashbulb memory. Younger and older adults also showed different reasons for recalling vivid flashbulb memories. The main predictor for creating flashbulb among younger adults was emotional connectedness to the event, whereas older adults relied more on rehearsal of the event in creating flashbulb memories. Being emotionally connected was not enough for older adults to create flashbulbs; they also needed to rehearse the event over the 11 months to remember details. Older adults also had more difficulty remembering the context of the event; the older adults were more likely to forget with whom they spoke and where events took place on a daily basis. If older adults are significantly impacted by the dramatic event, however, they could form flashbulb memories that are just as detailed as those that younger adults form. Older adults that were personally impacted by or in close proximity to September 11 recalled memories that did not differ in detail from those of younger adults.
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