Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

John N. Bohannon III


Participants (N = 656) from Butler University, Winston-Salem State University, and communities in Indianapolis, IN and Baltimore, MD, answered a questionnaire (two weeks, ten months, and four years after the election) consisting of several parts: a narrative and a set of probe questions regarding their discovery of the presidential announcement and a fact narrative and probed details about the election results. The narrative and probed recall data were scored in a fashion similar to flashbulb memory narratives with canonical election features. Whites generally remembered more than nonwhites. A fading affect bias was found in which the negative affect of conservative subjects faded faster over time in contrast to the liberal or moderate subjects. Affect influenced memory elaboration when there were few rehearsals. Memory elaboration with few recounts was greatest with those reporting high affect and decreased as affect decreased. Further, memories for Obama's election varied like other flashbulb events, such as 9/11, supporting affect at encoding as the flashbulb memory mechanism.