Presentation Title

Delay of Recall and Age Exacerbates Children’s Difficulty Estimating Temporal Features of Past Events

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented the Friday of the conference

Presenter Information

Rachel A. CantinFollow

Abstract

In a forensic and legal setting temporal information, such as when an event occurred and the duration of an event, can be critical evidence needed to lay charges in a criminal case. Yet, little is understood about how children are able to estimate the time of a past event under these circumstances. Past research on children’s temporal estimation abilities has been limited and is outdated.

We recruited 186 4- to 8-year-old children from local daycares and summer camps. Children participated in four games (45 minutes in total), all related to learning about magnets. Children were then either interviewed shortly after the games (same day) or one day later, with seven questions related to the dependent variables of interest: day of the week, duration, and temporal distance.

Among 6-to 8-year olds, a longer delay to recall was associated with lower event duration estimate accuracy. Further, after the 1-day delay there was a significantly lower level of accuracy in temporal distance estimates among 5-to-6 year olds, relative to 7-year olds and 8-year olds. The overall pattern of results indicates that children have difficulty estimating temporal features of previous events, and that this difficulty may be exacerbated by delay to recall and youth. It is important to know what children are capable of so that we can evaluate children’s evidence more accurately and so that we can elicit this information from children more effectively.

Department

Psychology

Faculty Advisor

Heather Price

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Delay of Recall and Age Exacerbates Children’s Difficulty Estimating Temporal Features of Past Events

In a forensic and legal setting temporal information, such as when an event occurred and the duration of an event, can be critical evidence needed to lay charges in a criminal case. Yet, little is understood about how children are able to estimate the time of a past event under these circumstances. Past research on children’s temporal estimation abilities has been limited and is outdated.

We recruited 186 4- to 8-year-old children from local daycares and summer camps. Children participated in four games (45 minutes in total), all related to learning about magnets. Children were then either interviewed shortly after the games (same day) or one day later, with seven questions related to the dependent variables of interest: day of the week, duration, and temporal distance.

Among 6-to 8-year olds, a longer delay to recall was associated with lower event duration estimate accuracy. Further, after the 1-day delay there was a significantly lower level of accuracy in temporal distance estimates among 5-to-6 year olds, relative to 7-year olds and 8-year olds. The overall pattern of results indicates that children have difficulty estimating temporal features of previous events, and that this difficulty may be exacerbated by delay to recall and youth. It is important to know what children are capable of so that we can evaluate children’s evidence more accurately and so that we can elicit this information from children more effectively.