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Children and metamemory


Around 1 in 10 children are victims of crime each year. Children, from as young as 2 years old, provide memory evidence in the form of police statements and court room testimony. In the legal system, memory reports from children are often deemed to be unreliable. A key unanswered question is: “Are children reliable in the sense that they know when their memories are and are not likely to be accurate?”. To answer this question, we are using complementary methods such as behavioural experiments applying new statistical approaches and computational modelling; developing novel neuroscience approaches; and testing conditions that are akin to real-life. 

Understanding about the development of memory reliability is likely to have significant implications across a range of academic disciplines, such as social psychology, clinical disorders, linguistics, philosophy, and real-life settings such as the legal system, education, and health-care.

Key questions include:

-At what age do children adjust their confidence thresholds optimally to maintain a good confidence-accuracy relationship?

-What factors influence child memory reliability?

-What theory can account for memory reliability across development?

-What metacognitive cues predict confidence and accuracy in children of different ages?

Example publications:

Winsor, A., Flowe, H. D., Seale-Carlisle, T. M., Killeen, I. M., Hett, D., Jores, T., *Ingham, M., Lee, B., Stevens, L., & Colloff, M. F(in press)Children’s expressions of certainty are informative. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. [Preprint].

Stevens, L. M., Rockey, J. C., Rockowitz, S., Kanja, W., Colloff, M. F., & Flowe, H. D. (2021). Children's Vulnerability to Sexual Violence During COVID-19 in Kenya: Recommendations for the Future. Frontiers in Global Women’s Health.

Example presentations:

This research has been funded by Economic and Social Research Council; British Academy/Leverhulme; University of Birmingham School of Psychology; University of Birmingham Alumni; and The Centre for Crime, Justice & Policing.

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