text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
News
design element
News
News From the Field
For the News Media
Special Reports
Research Overviews
NSF-Wide Investments
Speeches & Lectures
NSF Current Newsletter
Multimedia Gallery
Search Multimedia
Image
Video
Audio
More
Multimedia in the News
NSF Executive Staff
News Archive
 

Email this pagePrint this page
"Tot Recall" -- The Discovery Files


The Discovery Files
Audio Play Audio
The Discovery Files podcast is available through iTunes or you can add the RSS feed to your podcast receiver. You can also access the series via AudioNow® by calling 405-875-0058 on any telephone.

Contrary to previous assumptions, researchers at UC Davis found that preschoolers are able to gauge the strength of their memories and make decisions based on their self-assessments.

Credit: NSF/Karson Productions

Audio Transcript:

(Sound effect: kids playing) Childhood reflections.

I'm Bob Karson with the discovery files--new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.

At what age do children have the ability to gauge the strength of a memory? To assess how certain they are of something? It's part of what's known as "metacognition." Researchers have assumed that very young children do not have this ability. But a University of California, Davis study indicates it could be present in tots as young as three.

Eighty-one kids, ages three through five, were shown pictures of common items such as a balloon or a piano. Half of the images were shown only once, the other half twice. Then, the researchers presented a pair of images one the kids had seen, and a new one not previously shown. The kids were asked to pick the image they had seen before, and to sort their answers into two boxes one for answers that they were confident about, the other for ones they weren't so sure of.

The four- and five-year olds appropriately demonstrated less confidence in their incorrect answers. They were also more confident about images they had seen twice, indicating they could distinguish between stronger and weaker memories. Even the three-year olds showed a limited ability for metacognition.

The findings may have implications for the way we teach preschoolers and for the reliability of young children's testimony in court.

Metacognition or, "why it takes so long at the toy store."

"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research--brought to you, by you! Learn more at nsf.gov or on our podcast.

 
General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

MP3 icon
NSF podcasts are in mp3 format for easy download to desktop and laptops, as well as mobile devices capable of playing them.

 



Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page