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Although McCloskey, Wible, and Cohen (1988) attempted to clarify the flashbulb memory concept, their article is a new source of ambiguity. In particular, McCloskey et al. evaluated the claim that a flashbulb mechanism produces an elite class of complete, accurate, and permanently accessible memories, but this claim was not part of the original theoretical models, operational definitions, and research hypotheses. A primary purpose of studies of flashbulb memories has been to explain the considerable variation in memory quality. By comparing the elaborateness, accuracy, consistency, and persistence of memories formed under various conditions, researchers should be able to identify factors that lead to especially robust personal memories. Because the flashbulb metaphor is potentially misleading, the more mundane term memory of personal circumstances may be preferable.