Oberlin College and Conservatory

Clinton Merck, PhD Candidate and Teaching Fellow: ‘‘Flashbulb Memory’’

Friday, February 21, 2020 at 12:00pm

Severance Hall, Lecture Hall 108
120 West Lorain Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

‘‘Flashbulb Memory: Remembering personal circumstances for public events’’

This talk will discuss occasions in which two narratives that we ordinarily keep separate—the course of history and the course of our lives—are momentarily put into alignment.

Such occasions often produce what psychologists call flashbulb memories, which are vivid, long lasting, and confidently held recollections of the personal circumstances in which one learned of a public event. I will review the features of these memories, the factors that lead to their formation, and their implications for understanding the link between memory and identity.

In addition to discussing extant research, I will discuss my ongoing work examining the flashbulb memories formed around a particular category of public events: major sporting events.

Clinton Merck is a PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow at the New School for Social Research in New York City. He completed a BA at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio. He has taught courses at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York City College of Technology, and Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School.

His research focuses on memory’s role in the formation of individual and group identities.

Event Type



Academic, Psychology



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Joan Gleason

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