Popular Culture Review Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer 2017 - Page 92

down processing. Bottom-up processing pertains to sensory elements in the physical world (Smith and Kosslyn 55). We take in information about the world and make sense of it. A knock on a door compels us to respond. Top-down processing comes from information stored in long- term memory that helps us interpret what we perceive. The knock at a door compels us to respond (or not) due to our stored knowledge regarding the sound of a knock at a door. It suggests that someone is there to get our attention, to deliver a package, to relay a message, to ask questions, and so on. Furthermore, our emotions influence the manner in which we respond and communicate certain stimuli. For example, we may respond in an abrupt or in a courteous manner to a knock at the door. In addition to the role of cognition in expressions of sorrow, certain neural structures are implicated in our understanding of emotions, and, by extension, these structures influence our communicative choice and styles (Reisberg 437). Research in facial expressions, for example, (e.g. anger, sadness, surprise) has identified certain neural structures that underlie disgust (Calder, Lawrence, and Young 352). Studies of patients with orbito frontal disorders (base of the frontal lobe) have shown that patients who have experienced a deficit in a specific part of the brain do not respond to certain emotional stimuli, when compared to normal subjects (Reisberg 438). Evidence of this sort would support the claim that there are specific neural systems and brain areas that underlie human emotions. Accordingly, when these regions are stimulated by sensory stimuli (e.g., mass shootings), an emotional response ensues. In the process, individuals choose appropriate nonverbal forms of communication to express sorrow and sadness. Memory as a Factor The manner in which individuals respond to tragic events, as those cited in this study, is associated with our memory, specifically episodic memory. Episodic memory is connected to events that take place at a specific time and place (Smith and Kosslyn 194). For example, most of us, if asked, can remember the date and place of our high school or our college graduation. Such an event seems to be permanently stored in our long-term memory and conveys an emotional significance for us. We can extend the concept of episodic memory in discussing moments of sorrow. Our memories about persons involved in tragic events are meaningful in that they have been stored for a long time in memory and convey emotions. Frequent occurrences of tragic events, near and 87