Dr. Carole Peterson, FRSC, presents a public lecture titled: Stroll Down Memory (Research) Lane: Preliteracy Oral Skills, Eyewitness Memorial in Children, and Childhood Amnesia.
Our research has focused on children’s autobiographical stories about events in their lives for many years. While the stories are entertaining, children’s skill in telling them is highly significant: being able to coherently structure such stories is an important foundation for literacy, and our research has shown the key role that parents play in helping children learn this pre-literacy skill. Furthermore, such stories are crucial in terms of eyewitness testimony. We have documented the accuracy and informativeness of children’s memory for a highly stressful event, namely injury serious enough to require emergency room treatment. Such research has informed the courts (judges, lawyers, police, social workers, etc.) about how well children are able to remember salient events. In addition, we have explored both children’s and adults’ ability to remember their very earliest years, and have documented how culture, emotion, and social factors influence how far back our first memories go.