Carla Tinti, Susanna Schmidt, Antonietta Curci

Appraisal and recall of emotion-arousing public events: The death of Pope John Paul II

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Flashbulb memory, emotions, appraisal, memory, concerns

Flashbulb memories (FBM) are detailed and vivid recalls of the personal circumstances in which people first heard the news of an important public event. This study investigates how FBMs relative to the death of Pope John Paul II vary in function of the person's evaluation of the event's importance and the consequences it could have for his/her life. In particular, FBMs were investigated by questionnaire using a test-retest methodology in four groups with different degrees of proximity to the Catholic Church: atheists (n = 57), Catholics who are little (n = 45), moderately (n = 64) and very close to the Catholic Church (n = 86). The comparison was made with respect to the following hypothesised determinants of FBMs: intensity of felt emotions, rehearsal, event memory, attitudes towards the Pope and the appraisal of importance/consequentiality of his death. The causal relationships between these possible determinants of FBM were tested through the application of structural equation modeling. Results support the idea that the attributed importance/consequentiality is a fundamental determinant of FBM and is determined by attitudes which, in the present study, are influenced by the degree of proximity to the Catholic Church.

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