Development of Introspection about Memory States
We are interested in the development of the psychological mechanisms which allow introspection of our memory states and vividly re-experience our past. We are asking when and how children differentiate among different states of mind by looking at children’s understanding and use of memory verbs (e.g., “I am sure that this happened,” “I remember;” “It sounds familiar”) (Ghetti et al., 2011).
We are also investigating whether different introspective states are associated with different probability of acting on the basis of a memory (e.g., initiating a search for an object; betting on a response) (Hembacher & Ghetti, 2013). We have conducted numerous studies to investigate development in middle childhood.
More recently, we have examined early emergence of introspection abilities in the preschool years. We have now shown that children as young as 3 years of age possess some ability to assess their own uncertainty about perceptual and memory decisions (Coughlin et al., in press; Hembacher & Ghetti, 2014; Lyons & Ghetti, 2011; Lyons & Ghetti, 2013).
Together, these studies funded by the National Science Foundation shed light on the important question of how awareness of different memory states is achieved over the course of childhood.