Filling in the gaps

Unlike a video camera, the human brain cannot record a perfect replica of an event.

Instead, we remember events by reconstructing them, often filling in gaps with information drawn from general knowledge and past experiences.

Dr Deirdre Brown, from the School of Psychology, will lead a $585,000 Marsden-funded study to test whether young children reconstruct memories in the same way as older children and adults. Her co-researchers are Professor Michael Lamb, from Cambridge University, and Professor Charles Brainerd, from Cornell University.

“When children are maltreated, their testimony about what happened is critical for decisions regarding prosecution and care and protection,” says Deirdre. “This research will contribute to our understanding of how reliable young children’s evidence may be.”