Memory Development

We are interested in memory development and the impact of different information processing and behavioural factors on what children can recall.

Children’s Memory for Changing Events

In this study, we focus on how children between 6 to 14-years remember their experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Deirdre Brown is working in collaboration with researchers from universities in Canada (Dr Heather Price), Australia (Dr Sonja Brubacher) and the UK (Dr Charlie Lewis and Dr Michael Lamb) to compare children’s experiences and memory across countries who each had different experiences and responses to the pandemic.

This research will help us understand how children remember and experience events that change over time. Children are often asked to talk about their real-life experiences—in class, at home, at the doctor, or in legal settings. These situations can sometimes be difficult for children, and research like this gives us information about what to expect from children and how we can best support them to talk about their experiences.

If you currently live in New Zealand and are interested in learning more about what is involved for children and families who participate in this research please click here.

The GRACI projectthe graci project logo

Ground Rules and Children’s Interviews

Supported by a Marsden Fund grant, the GRACI project is undertaking a series of studies with children aged 3-12 years in the Greater Wellington Region. These studies investigate children’s understanding and use of “ground rules”, such as saying “I don’t know” in an interview setting when they do not know the answer. We explore how children’s understanding of ground rules changes with age, and test ways of teaching the rules that are informed by cognitive research.

The MARCIE projectThe MARCIE Project

Memory: Age-Related Changes in Errors.

The MARCIE project is a series of studies, supported by a Marsden Fund grant, examining the finding that false memories can be more common in older children and adults than they are in younger children. Our research is investigating whether developmental patterns of false memories demonstrated in lab based tasks (e.g., recall of word lists or pictures) occur in the same way when children recall personally experienced events.

Forensic Interviews with Children

Our research examines safe techniques for conducting forensic interviews with children when they have been witness to, or victims of, an alleged crime. We are investigating such issues as whether using aids such as body diagrams, photos, drawings, sketch plans, or mental context reinstatement in an interview may help to facilitate children’s recall. We are also interested in the abilities of different groups of children (e.g., those with developmental delays or disorders) to remember and talk about what they know. Additionally, we are conducting research that aims to enhance the effectiveness of evidence-based interviewer strategies and to develop processes that can help interviewers engage in self-supervision and evaluation.