However, random assignment does not ensure hegemony over extraneous variables across the three conditions used in this study. For example, by chance, some participants may have been more motivated to answer questions on the attacks than others seeing that open-ended questions were used- this might influence their responses to the questions and the overall validity of the research. Moreover, random assignments limit the external validity of the study because the researcher is not able to establish the causal relationship between results from the participants used in this study and the wider population.Despite this, the use of open-ended questions in the target paper was a strength because it allowed participants to elaborate on their responses. For instance, participants were able to include how they felt when they first heard about the attack, where they heard it from and elaborate on an event from their life days prior the attacks. This ensured that findings from the target paper were based on participants’ authentic feelings about the attacks. By using opened-ended questions, response errors could be reduced because subjects were not prone to forget their responses providing, they had the opportunity to respond freely to the questions asked. This ensured that subjects did not disregard the questions asked. This is a strength of the target paper because it allowed Talarico and Rubin to get an insight into the consistency, confidence and the accuracy of flashbulb memories by procuring additional information from the participants.
Nevertheless, the sample size used in the target paper could be considered a methodological issue. The target paper used 54 participants with an average age of approximately 18 and 19 from the same demographic. Results from the target paper may have held high population validity if the findings are applied to individuals in this age range due to the randomized assignment used. Yet, one is not able to apply the results to anyone else outside this age group because the sample used was too small. This suggests that results from the target paper had low population validity. This is a limitation because low population consequently undermines the overall validity of the results of the target paper and limits the research’s capacity to make inferences on the consistency and confidence of flashbulb memories. For future research on flashbulb memories, one can suggest for a larger sample to be used so that the experiment is more representative-ensuring that the outcomes are applicable to a more inclusive population.