Memories of ‘The Rivalry’: Differences in How Fans of the Winning and Losing Teams Remember the Same Game


Jennifer M. Talarico, Department of Psychology, Lafayette College, 111 Quad Drive, Easton, PA 18042, USA.



Berntsen's social identity model of flashbulb memory was applied to recall of the 2008 Lafayette–Lehigh (‘The Rivalry’) football game, which Lehigh won. Consistent with Berntsen's theory, Lehigh fans found the game to be more emotional and therefore rehearsed the event more frequently. They also remembered the factual details of the game more accurately than did Lafayette fans, particularly those facts that enhanced positive social group identity. Although students from both schools recalled the event equally vividly initially, the Lehigh fans maintained that vividness over time, whereas Lafayette fans' memories decreased in vividness. Surprisingly, both teams' fans were equally consistent in describing their personal circumstances during the event, were equally confident in the accuracy of those recollections, and felt an equally high degree of reliving the event while remembering it. The significant influence of emotional affect on vividness, reliving, and confidence was partially mediated by rehearsal, consistent with Berntsen's model. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.