Date of Award

Spring 6-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department/Program

Forensic Psychology

Language

English

First Advisor

Charles B. Stone

Second Reader

Mark Fondacaro

Third Advisor

Deryn Strange

Abstract

In recent years, school shootings have evolved from rare occurrences to a full-blown epidemic, causing generations of students to have a realistic fear of attending school. When negative or traumatic events like a school shooting occur, people often form long lasting recollections of where they were, when learning about the traumatic, public event. Hence, the aim of this study was to understand if certain school shootings are more memorable for Americans, and whether differences exist across generations, as certain school shootings that occur during the reminiscence bump period (i.e., between the ages 10 – 30) may influence which shooting is more memorable. The results of this study suggest that a) certain school shootings are more memorable than others, and b) generational differences can be observed in certain recollections based on the age of the participant at the time of the school shooting in question, but not always. Findings of the current study provide a better understanding of the memorability of school shootings, long term public event memory, and how age/generations may affect recall.

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