Richard Belz

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

John Paul Legerski


Multiple studies have examined flashbulb memories (FBM) for various events, but few studies have evaluated these memories within the context of mass shootings. The current investigation examined adult participants’ FBMs for both real and fictitious mass shootings collected in an online survey of 607 participants in the United States. ANOVA, Chi-Square, and regression analyses were used to analyze survey data to examine participant characteristics associated with FBMs for these events. More than 40% of participants had one or more FBMs for real mass shootings. Of note, more than 20% of participants had one or more FBMs for shootings that never occurred. Gun owners, Hispanic, Spanish, or Latino participants, and participants with higher scores on measures of homosexuality or conservative political views tended to be more likely to report FBMs of shootings that never occurred. These findings may have important implications for FBM research, particularly in addressing inaccuracies in FBM reporting, as well as contribute to the literature on the public’s perception of mass shootings.