Remembering does not occur in vacuum. Both internal factors, such as people’s thoughts or subjective evaluations about their memory, and external factors, such as information from others, guide memory decisions and future actions. In my research I am interested in examining how children and adults weight these several different factors in order to optimize their memory performance.
The role of introspection
Imagine you’re a student studying for an exam. You may think to yourself that you don’t know the material and this uncertainty leads you to keep studying. Alternatively, you may feel confident in your knowledge and decide to go out for the evening instead. Being able to accurately reflect on your memory is important in order to avoid mistakes, such as not studying enough because you thought you knew the material or wasting your time because you underestimated your knowledge. My research investigates how people introspect on their memories (i.e., metacognition) and how these self-reflections guide decision-making. I am interested in when and how metacognition emerges, what factors support its development, and how metacognition can be used to improve memory and learning.
Incorporating external information
We often receive or seek out reliable recommendations from others, such as a friend, family member, or sibling. Can people appropriately incorporate such helpful information into their memory decisions? What happens when receiving information from multiple sources? How does information-seeking improve learning and academic achievement? My research focuses on understanding how children and adults improve their performance by integrating external recommendations and contextual information with their own memories and the underlying mechanisms that support this ability.