Date of Award

Spring 2011

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Michelle D Leichtman


The study presented in this dissertation was designed to investigate young children's ability to accurately recall episodic (i.e., specific-one-moment-in-time) memories of learning events and whether this ability was related to another metacognitive skill, source monitoring. Further, the study investigated possible gender differences in the ability to recall learning events. Sixty children, ages four to six years, participated in two staged learning events about two novel topics, the Aleutian Islands and the visual system. Following a delay, children were interviewed and asked both general factual knowledge questions and questions about the target material learned in the staged events. Children were asked to provide an answer to each question and to indicate 1) if they knew the answer or had guessed and 2) if they remembered the moment they learned the answer or did not remember. Two weeks after this interview, 58 of the children completed a replication of the source monitoring task developed by Taylor et al. (1994).

Results indicated that children as young as four years old could provide memories of learning events and that there were few age differences between the accuracy of four- and five-year-olds' memories. Contrary to predictions, gender differences in episodic recall generally favored boys, with boys providing more memories that were coded as consistent with specific and being more likely to accurately report learning the target material in the staged learning events. Finally, the ability to recall episodic memories of learning events was not entirely related to source monitoring ability, as measured by the Taylor et al. (1994) task, indicating a more nuanced view of memory development. Implications for educators and for theories of memory development are discussed.