Congratulations to Kristina Todorovic on winning the Department of Psychology Meritorious Research Grant!

Kristina Todorovic was awarded the Department of Psychology Meritorious Research Grant for her dissertation entitled Event Memory and Susceptibility to Different Modes of Suggestion in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Abstract: To date, evidence-based guidelines for interviewing children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) do not exist. A number of different evidence-based interview protocols exist worldwide, but the protocols were empirically derived based on typically developing (TD) children. Past studies have reported children with ASD display similar levels of suggestibility to misleading questions compared to TD children. However, extant studies are scant and have relied on a single measure of suggestibility. Thus, the proposed study will investigate whether event memory and susceptibility to different modes of suggestion (e.g., free recall, interrogative suggestibility, misinformation effects, and source misattribution) differ among children with ASD and TD age- and gender-matched peers. Children will be excluded from data analyses if they have a Full-Scale IQ below 90. In the proposed study, 60 (30 ASD, 30 TD) 6- to 9-year- old children will participant in a two-session study. Primary caregivers will complete assessments on their child’s autistic traits and anxiety. In Session 1, children will individually engage in a staged event. During the event, children will be asked to keep a secret about a minor transgression (“breaking” a toy) the research assistant commits. Immediately after, children will be interviewed using free recall prompts and given true and false reminders about the event. After a short break, children will be administered two subscales of the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (2nd edition). Two weeks later, in Session 2, an unfamiliar interviewer will assess children’s recall and recognition memory for the staged event. Children will also be asked about the minor transgression to assess whether they keep the secret or disclose the transgression. Children will then complete child-normed neutral and emotionally-valenced Deese Roediger-McDermott tasks and a trust belief scale. In addition to the theoretical contribution, these results will be important to professionals who interview children with ASD by further understanding how autobiographical memory works in children with ASD. If successful, these results can be used to develop evidence-based guidelines for interviewing children with ASD and to guide early intervention programs.

Congrats to Kristina Todorovic on winning the Department of Psychology Competitive Travel Award!

Kristina Todorovic will be presenting her paper Does Metasuggestibility Predict Memory Distortion Among School-aged Children? at the annual meeting of the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS). The conference will be held in New Orleans, LA March 5th to March 7th.

Abstract: Metacognition is defined in short as ‘thinking about thinking.’ Knowledge about memory has received extensive research attention and found to predict the development of children’s memory strategies. In the current study, we explored children’s metasuggestibility as an underlying mechanism of memory suggestibility. Ninety-four 7- to 9-year-olds participated in a metasuggestibility task and a standard misinformation paradigm, with task order randomly assigned. Results revealed 7-year-olds profited more from the metasuggestibility-first order task than older children. We believe because 7-year-olds are not at the threshold of concept attainment they cannot reflect on previous experiences to make this link. Implications are discussed.