Master of Arts (MA)
Journalism and Media Studies
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Number of Pages
The flashback is a concept born in cinema, adopted by science and embraced by popular culture as a metaphor for memory—everyday recollections, psychedelic illusions, and traumatic intrusions—that informs and influences our relationship to the past. This creative thesis traces the one-hundred-year timeline of the concept of flashbacks, focusing on its expansion into the field of psychology. How did a film term end up in the pages of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the primary tool used by psychologists to diagnose mental illness, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Flashbacks gained psychological complexity in Hollywood during the World War II era, were first linked to the brain by through
an association with the drug LSD, and have become the hallmark symptom of PTSD. The film produced for this project, entitled, “Trauma and its Shadow: The History of Flashbacks,” combines original research, video interviews, archival media, and other elements to explore significant issues including drug policy, trauma therapy, and a range of issues relating to the American media.
Broadcast and Video Studies | Film and Media Studies | Journalism Studies | Psychology
Becker, David, "Trauma and Its Shadow: The History of Flashbacks" (2019). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 3570.
Available for download on Friday, May 15, 2026