The MARCIE Project


In some kinds of memory tasks younger children are better than older children – they make less mistakes. Does this also happen when children talk about real life experiences? The MARCIE project is going to find out.

The MARCIE Project Team


Dr. Deirdre Brown

Deirdre is leading the research. She is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at Victoria University. Deirdre has a grant from the Marsden Fund, which supports the MARCIE project.




Mel Gaffaney web

Melanie Gaffaney

Mel is our Research Nurse. She previously worked as a registered paediatric nurse for 10 years in Wellington and London. Mel is a mum who also currently works as an artist.






Helen Pierce


Steph McNamee

Helen and Steph are Research Assistants in Deirdre’s lab. They will be visiting schools to interview the participating children. Helen has a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology from Massey University. Steph has a Masters degree in Educational Psychology from Victoria University of Wellington.

Frequently Asked Questions for Parents

Can I talk with my child about the research?
Because talking about an event can affect memory, we ask that you do not talk about the check-up with your child until after we have interviewed them. If your child brings up the check-up then please keep it as brief as possible. 

Can we change our minds about participating in the research?
Yes. You or your child can withdraw from the study, without giving any reason, up until the final session has ended. Just let us know by contacting one of the Research Assistants.

Before every session, we will check with your child to make sure they are happy to participate. If they do not want to participate, or want to stop at any time, then we will stop straight away.

What happens to the information that is collected?
To ensure confidentiality, your child will be assigned a number, and all of the information that we collect will be identified with that number. Your child’s name will not be stored with any of the information that we collect.

Videos and consent forms will be kept for five years after we finish the study, then destroyed. The results of your child’s check-up, and information that we collect during the memory and thinking skills activities, will be kept indefinitely. All information will be stored electronically and password protected.

Summary results of the project, including quotations, may be published or presented at conferences – we will not identify any child in these presentations.

The information may be used in future research. It may be shared with other competent professionals (e.g. researchers) upon request.

Summary of Results

Pilot Study: Children’s views about going to the doctor or nurse.

First we asked General Practitioners based in New Zealand about what typically happens during a check-up with a child. Then we asked primary school children what they think usually happens during a check-up.

Overall, we found that children’s descriptions of what usually happens during a check-up matched those of General Practitioners. As you might expect, older children were able to report more about what happens during a check-up than younger children. However, when we asked how often certain things happen at the doctor, children of all ages were in agreement about which things happen often, and which things happen rarely.

Not surprisingly, we found that many children mentioned that they do not like getting injections and many wished that medicine tasted better. Things that children mentioned would make going to the doctor or nurse better included less waiting times, interesting activities to do in the waiting room, and more lollies.

Findings from this study were used to design the check-up that our Research Nurse will be administering to children as part of the MARCIE project. The MARCIE project will be carried out in schools across Wellington in 2016.

The MARCIE project team would like to sincerely thank everyone who participated and assisted us with the pilot study. We really appreciate it!

Contact Us

Contact us with any queries about the MARCIE project, either now or in the future.

Phone: (04) 463 5233 ext 8496

Email: Helen

You can also contact Dr. Brown directly
Ph: (04) 463 4720

Please direct all media enquiries to Dr. Deirdre Brown

This study has been approved by the School of Psychology Human Ethics Committee under delegated authority of Victoria University of Wellington’s Human Ethics Committee.