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Ph.D., Emory University
Specialty: Developmental Psychology
My primary interests lie in the cognitive and social foundations of memory and narrative development. With support from NICHD through the year 2004, Dr. Peter A. Ornstein (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and I have begun a major longitudinal investigation of children from 1-1/2 to 6 years of age. We are concentrating especially on the multiple contributions of language and social communication to the development of memory. Using nonverbal indices of young children's memory as a foundation, our aim is to track the emergence, refinement, and generalization of verbal skills for remembering. Moreover, as we focus on the development of verbal memory skills, we are examining parallel transitions between children's abilities (i) to talk about experiences in the present, (ii) to discuss events in the past, and (iii) to plan deliberately for future assessments of remembering. Although there are rich research literatures in each of these areas, by and large, these bodies of work have not been integrated with each other, and longitudinal methods have not generally been used to trace the development of memory skills within individual children.
In addition, I have recently conducted a series of longitudinal and experimental studies that demonstrate important linkages between mother-child conversations during events and children's subsequent remembering of the same experiences. To illustrate, in one study (Boland et al., in press), mothers were trained to engage in elaborative discussions as a specially prepared event unfolds would enhance children's remembering of the experience. After training, mothers were observed engaging with their children in an event (camping or bird watching), and assessments of the children's memory were made at 1-day and 3-week delay intervals. The results indicate that the training procedure, in fact, worked. For example, trained mothers in the first study used more than twice as many wh-questions and associations than mothers who had not been trained. Moreover, mothers' use of wh-questions, follow-ins, and evaluations did not vary as a function of the linguistic skills of the children. Maternal style training also significantly impacted children's event memory; children of trained mothers recalled more component features (e.g., for the camping event: backpack, grill, hot dog), and more elaborative details of the event (e.g., "We packed all the food." "Mom's backpack was green.") than children of untrained mothers. These findings, together with preliminary analyses of data from the second "training" study that are now underway, illustrate that it is possible to train mothers to use specific techniques that increase children's understanding of an event as it occurs, with lasting implications for remembering.
Research Methods, and courses in Developmental Psychology
Haden, C. A. (1998). Reminiscing with different children: Relating maternal stylistic consistency and sibling similarity in talk about the past. Developmental Psychology, 34, 99-114.
Haden, C. A., Ornstein, P. A., Eckerman, C. O. & Didow, S. M. (2001). Mother-child conversational interactions as events unfold: Linkages to subsequent remembering. Child Development, 72, 1016-1031.
Ornstein, P. A., & Haden, C. A. (2001). Memory development or the development of memory? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 1-4.
Boland, A. M., Haden, C. A., & Ornstein, P. A. (in press). Boosting children's memory by training mothers in the use of an elaborative conversational style as an event unfolds. Journal of Cognition and Development.
Fivush, R., & Haden, C. A. (Eds.) (in press). Autobiographical memory and the construction of a narrative self: Developmental and cultural perspectives. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Professional Affiliations and Society Memberships:
Faculty Affiliate/Co-Investigator, Center for Developmental Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1997 - present)
Society for Research in Child Development. Member. (1993 - present).
American Psychological Association, Member. (Division 7) (1996 - present).
Midwestern Psychological Association (1997 - present).
Cognitive Development Society. Member. (1999 - present).