Flashbulb memories are formed through widely shared events that have affected the culture and community. The “flash” in flashbulb memories refers to the specific details that individuals have developed in their memories. The presented research focuses on the specific event of college students at the University of Central Florida (UCF) hearing about university closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This research study sought to identify the variables that have affected the accuracy of flashbulb memories formation regarding the event of college students hearing about university closure because of the pandemic. The variables of the students’ relevance to the university, location, source of hearing about the university’s closure, and political group they belong to were investigated to determine if they affected the accuracy of the memories that were developed. An online survey was sent to students inquiring about the specifics and details that they remembered when finding out that the university was closed and was going to move to remote instruction. Participants included 226 college students who filled out the survey between February 3, 2021, and July 21, 2021. The survey included questions regarding the experiences of students when they learned about COVID-19 and university closure. Data revealed that a greater relevance to the event can cause a greater amount of rehearsal and recall of memories. The rehearsal and recall of memories are crucial variables to developing accurate flashbulb memories. This study contributes to the lack of research in flashbulb memories associated with pandemics. The study will be an addition to determining variables that have affected the accuracy of flashbulb memories.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Sims, Valerie


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Medicine


Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences

Degree Program

Biomedical Sciences



Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Release Date