Carole Peterson

B.Sc. Washington, Ph.D. Minnesota

University Research Professor

Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

Office: SN3100
Phone: (709) 864-7682
Affiliations: Developmental, Cognition

Research Interests

Currently, research interests focus on memory and language. I and other members of my lab have been studying children’s eyewitness memory for salient events and how it is affected by the way they are interviewed. Most recently, we have been investigating the use of a relatively new technique, the Narrative Elaboration procedure. An important problem for researchers to address is how to get children to provide more information in open-ended recall, which has been shown to be the most accurate as well as least vulnerable to interviewer suggestion or influence. As well, how can one optimally interview children who are motivated to lie or hide information? We are investigating these issues. In addition, we are studying childhood amnesia, or children’s and adults’ ability to recall the earliest years of their lives. We are exploring factors that affect one’s age at the time of these early memories, how many memories one can retrieve, and characteristics of the memories.


Pavlova, M., Graham, S., Peterson, C., Lund, T., Kennedy, M. Nania, C. & Noel, M. (2021). The socialization of young children’s empathy for pain: The role of mother- and father-child reminiscing. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 46(3), 314-323. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsaa107

Peterson, C. (2021). What is your earliest memory? It depends. Memory. Published online 06 May 2021.

Pond, E.S., & Peterson, C. (2020). Highly emotional vicarious memories. Memory 27(8). 1051-1066.

Peterson, C. (2020). Remembering Earliest Childhood Memories. In Gülgöz, S. & Sahin-Acar, B. (Eds.), Autobiographical memory development: Theoretical and methodological approaches (pp. 119-135).  Included in the series ‘Current Issues in Memory.’ Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780429022791-10

Canning, H.S., & Peterson, C. (2020). Encouraging more open-ended information in child interviews. Psychiatry, Psychology, & Law 27(1), 81-94. doi:

Bauer, P.J., Baker-Ward, L., Krøjgaard, P., Peterson, C., & Wang, Q. (2019). Evidence against depiction as fiction: A comment on “Fictional First Memories” (Akhar et al., 2018). Psychological Science, 30(9), 1397-1399. doi:

Brubacher, S. P., Peterson, C., La Rooy, D., Dickinson, J. J., & Poole, D. A. (2019). How children talk about events: Implications for eliciting and analyzing eyewitness reports. Developmental Review, 51, 70-89. doi: 10.1016/j.dr.2018.12.003  [Abstract] [PDF]

Wang, Q., Peterson, C., Khuu, A., Reid, C.P., Maxwell, K.L., & Vincent, J.M. (2019). Looking at the past through a telescope: Adults postdated their earliest childhood memories. Memory, 27 (1), 19-27. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2017.1414268  [Abstract] [PDF]

Mehrani, M.B., & Peterson, C. (2018). Responses to interview questions: A cross-linguistic study of acquiescence tendency. Infant and Child Development, 27(2), e2063. doi: 10.1002/icd.2063  [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Hallett, D., & Compton-Gillingham, C. (2018). Childhood amnesia in children: A prospective study across eight years. Child Development, 89(6), e520-e534. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12972  [Abstract] [PDF]

Warren, K.L., Peterson, C., & Compton-Gillingham, C. (2018). Children who are coached to lie: Does linguistic analysis help us understand why these children are so believable? Psychiatry, Psychology, and Law, 25(5), 789-805. doi: 10.1080/13218719.2018.1478336  [Abstract] [PDF]

Mehrani, M.B., & Peterson, C. (2017). Children’s recency tendency: A cross-linguistic study of Persian, Kurdish and English. First Language, 37, 350-367. doi: 10.1177/0142723717694055 [Abstract] [PDF]

Mehrani, M.B., & Peterson, C. (2017). Interviewing preschoolers: Response biases to yes/no questions. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 31, 91-98. doi: 10.1002/acp.3305 [Abstract] [PDF]

Smorti, A., Peterson, C., & Tani, F. (2016). The language of memory: Narrating memories of parents and friends. The Open Psychology Journal, 9, 95-110. doi: 10.2174/1874350101609010095 [Abstract] [PDF]

Tani, F., Peterson, C. & Smorti, M. (2016). The words of violence: Autobiographical narratives of abused women. Journal of Family Violence, 31, 885-896. doi: 10.1007/s10896-016-9824-0 [Abstract] [PDF]

O’Neal, E., Plumert, J., & Peterson, C. (2016). Parent-child injury prevention conversations following a trip to the Emergency Department. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 41(2), 256-264. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsv070 [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Baker-Ward, L., & Grovenstein, T.N. (2016). Childhood remembered: Reports of both unique and repeated events. Memory, 24, 240-256. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2014.1001991  [Abstract] [PDF]

Wang, Q., & Peterson, C. (2016). The fate of early memories: Children postdated early memories as they grew older. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1-7. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.02038 [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C. (2015). A Decade Later: Adolescents’ Memory for Medical Emergencies. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29, 826-834. doi: 10.1002/acp  [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Fowler, T., & Brandeau, K.M. (2015). Earliest Memories and Recent Memories of Highly Salient Events – Are They Similar? Journal of Cognition and Development, 16(4), 638-649. doi: 10.1080/15248372.2013.879872 [PDF]

Warren, K.L., Bakhtiar, M., Mulrooney, B., Raynor, G.K., Dodd, E.K., & Peterson, C. (2015). Adults’ detection of deception in children: Effect of coaching and age for children’s true and fabricated reports of injuries. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 33, 784-800  [Abstract] [PDF]

Mehrani, M.B., & Peterson, C. (2015). Recency tendency: Responses to forced-choice questions. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29, 418-424. doi: 10.1002/acp.3119  [Abstract] [PDF]

Tani, F., Smorti, A., & Peterson, C. (2015). Is friendship quality reflected in memory narratives? Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 32, 281-303. doi: 10.1177/0265407515573601  [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Morris, G., Baker-Ward, L., & Flynn, S. (2014). Predicting Which Childhood Memories Persist: Contributions of Memory Characteristics. Developmental Psychology, 50, 439-448. doi: 10.1037/a0033221 [Abstract] [PDF]

Tani, F., Peterson, C., & Smorti, A. (2014). Empathy and autobiographical memory – Are they linked? Journal of Genetic Psychology, 175:3, 252-269. doi: 10.1080/00221325.2013.869534. [Abstract] [PDF]

Wang, Q., & Peterson, C. (2014). Your Earliest Memory May be Earlier Than You Think: Prospective Studies of Children’s Dating of Earliest Childhood Memories. Developmental Psychology, 50, 1680-1686. doi: 10.1037/a0036001 [Abstract] [PDF]

Warren, K., & Peterson, C. (2014). Exploring parent-child discussions of crime and their influence on children’s memory. Behavioural Sciences and the Law, 32, 686-701. doi: 10.1002/bsl.2144 (invited contribution for a special issue)  [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Warren, K.L., & Hayes, A.H. (2013). Revisiting narrative elaboration training with an ecologically relevant event. Journal of Cognition and Development, 14, 154-174. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., & Noel, M. (2012). 'I was just screeching!': Comparing child and parent derived measures of distress. Stress and Health, 28, 279-288. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C. (2012). Children's autobiographical memories across the years: Forensic implications of childhood amnesia and eyewitness memory for stressful events. Developmental Review, 32, 287-306.  [Abstract] [PDF]

McCabe, A., & Peterson, C. (2012). Predictors of Adult Narrative Elaboration: Emotion, Attachment, and Gender.  Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 31, 327-344. doi: 10.2190/IC.31.4.f  [Abstract] [PDF]

Warren, K.L., Dodd, E., Raynor, G., & Peterson, C. (2012). Detecting children's lies: Comparing true accounts about highly stressful injuries with unprepared, prepared, and coached lies. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 30, 329-341. doi: 10.1002/bsl.1994  [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Warren, K.L., & Short, M.M. (2011). Infantile amnesia across the years: A 2-year follow-up of children's earliest memories. Child Development, 82, 1092-1105. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C. (2011). Children's memory reports over time: Getting both better and worse. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 109, 275-293.  [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C. (2010). "And I was very very crying": Child self-descriptions of distress as predictors of recall. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24, 909-924. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Bonechi, A., Smorti, A., & Tani, F. (2010). A distant mirror: Memories of parents and friends across childhood and adolescence. British Journal of Psychology, 101, 601-320. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., & Nguyen, D.T.K. (2010). Parent-child relationship quality and infantile amnesia in adults. British Journal of Psychology, 101, 719-737. [Abstract] [PDF]

Tani, F., Bonechi, A., Peterson, C., & Smorti, A. (2010). Parental influences on memories of parents and friends. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 171(4), 300-329. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Warren, K., Nguyen, D.T., & Noel, M. (2010). Infantile amnesia and gender: Does the way we measure it matter? Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 9, 1767-1771. [Abstract] [PDF]

Wang, Q., Peterson, C., & Hou, Y. (2010). Children dating childhood memories. Memory, 18, 754-762. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Noel, M., Kippenhuck, L., Harmundal, L. & Vincent, C.D. (2009). Early memories of children and adults: Implications for infantile amnesia. Cognitive Sciences, 4(2), 65-90. [Abstract[PDF]

Peterson, C., Wang, Q., & Hou, Y. (2009). "When I was little": Childhood recollections in Chinese and European grade-school children. Child Development, 80, 506-518. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., & Warren, L.K. (2009). Injuries, emergency rooms, and children's memory: Factors contributing to individual differences. In J. Quas & R. Fivush (Eds.), Emotion and memory in development: Biological, cognitive, and social considerations (pp. 60-85). Oxford University Press. Included in the Oxford Series in Affective Science, K. Scherer & R. Davidson (Series Eds.). [PDF]

Peterson, C., Smorti, A., & Tani, F. (2008). Parental influences on earliest memories. Memory, 16, 569-578. [Abstract] [PDF]

Noel, M., Peterson, C., & Jesso, B. (2008). The relationship of parenting stress and child temperament to language development among economically disadvantaged preschoolers. Journal of Child Language, 35, 823-843. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Sales, J.M., Rees, M., & Fivush, R (2007). Parent-child talk and children's memory for stressful events. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21, 1057-1075. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C. (2007). Reliability of child witnesses: A decade of research. The Canadian journal of Police & Security Services, 5, 142-151. [Abstract] [PDF]

McCabe, A., Peterson, C., & Connors, D.M. (2006). Attachment security and narrative elaboration. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 30, 8-19. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Pardy, L., Tizzard-Drover, T., & Warren, K. (2005). When initial interviews are delayed a year: Effect on children's 2-year recall. Law & Human Behavior, 29, 527-541. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C. and Parsons, B. (2005). Interviewing former 1- and 2-year-olds about medical emergencies five years later. Law and Human Behavior, 29, 743-754. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Grant, V. V., & Boland, L. D. (2005). Childhood amnesia in children and adolescents: Their earliest memories. Memory, 13, 622-637. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C. (2004). Mothers, fathers, and gender: Parental narratives about children. Narrative Inquiry, 14, 323-346. [Abstract] [PDF]

Tizzard-Drover, T., & Peterson, C. (2004). The influence of an early interview on long-term recall: A comparative analysis. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 18, 727-745. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Parsons, T., & Dean, M. (2004). Providing misleading and reinstatement information a year after it happened: Effects on long-term memory. Memory, 12, 1-13. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., & McCabe, A. (2004). Echoing our parents: Parental influences on children’s narration. In M.W. Pratt & B.E. Fiese (Eds.), Family stories and the lifecourse: Across time and generations (pp. 27-54). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. [PDF]

Sales, J.M., Fivush, R., & Peterson, C. (2003). Parental reminiscing about positive and negative events. Journal of Cognition and Development, 4, 185-211. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C. & Roberts, C. (2003). Like mother, like daughter: Similarities in narrative style. Developmental Psychology, 39, 551-562. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C. (2002). Children’s long-term memory for autobiographical events. Developmental Review22, 370-402. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Ross, A., & Tucker, V.C. (2002). Hospital emergency rooms and children’s health care attitudes. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 27, 281-291. [Abstract]

Fivush, R., Peterson, C., & Schwarzmueller, A. (2002). Questions and answers: The credibility of child witnesses in the context of specific questioning techniques. In M.L. Eisen, J.A. Quas, & G.S. Goodman (Eds.), Memory and suggestibility in the forensic interview (pp. 331-354). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. [PDF]

Peterson, C., & Biggs, M. (2001). ‘I was really, really, really mad!’: Children’s use of evaluative devices in narratives about emotional events. Sex Roles, 45, 801-826. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., & Whalen, N. (2001). Five years later: Children’s memory for medical emergencies. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 15, 7-24. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Moores, L., & White, G. (2001). Recounting the same events again and again: Children’s consistency across multiple interviews. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 15, 353-371. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., & Grant, M. (2001). Forced-choice: Are forensic interviewers asking the right questions? Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 33, 118-127. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C. (1999). Children’s memory for medical emergencies: Two years later. Developmental Psychology, 35, 1493-1506. doi: 10.137/0012-1649.35.6.1493 [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Dowden, C., & Tobin, J. (1999). Interviewing preschoolers: Comparisons of yes/no and wh- questions. Law & Human Behavior, 23, 539-556. doi: 0147-7307/99/1000-0539$16.00/1 [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., Jesso, B., & McCabe, A. (1999). Encouraging narratives in preschoolers: An intervention study. Journal of Child Language, 26, 49-67. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., & Rideout, R. (1998). Memory for medical emergencies experienced by one and two year olds. Developmental Psychology, 34, 1059-1072. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.34.5.1059 [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., & Biggs, M. (1998). Stitches and casts: Emotionality and narrative coherence. Narrative Inquiry, 8, 51-76. [Abstract] [PDF]

Peterson, C., & McCabe, A. (1997). Extending Labov and Waletzky. Journal of Narrative and Life History, 7, 251-258.

Liddell, A., Rabinowitz, F.M., & Peterson, C. (1997). Relationship between age changes in children's dental anxiety and perception of dental experiences. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 21, 619-631. doi: 0147-5916/97/12.50-0619$12.50/0

Peterson, C., & Biggs, M. (1997). Interviewing children about trauma: Problems with "specific" questions. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 10, 279-290. doi: 10.1023/A:1024882213462

Peterson, C., & Bell, M. (1996). Children's memory for traumatic injury. Child Development, 67, 3045-3070. doi: 10.2307/1131766

Peterson, C. (1996). The preschool child witness: Errors in accounts of traumatic injury. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 28, 36-42.

Howe, M.L., Courage, M.L., & Peterson, C. (1995). Intrusions in preschoolers' recall of traumatic childhood events. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 2, 130-134.

Peterson, C. (1994). Narrative skills and social class. Canadian Journal of Education, 19, 251-269.

Peterson, C. & McCabe, A. (1994). A social-interactionist account of developing decontextualized narrative skill. Developmental Psychology, 30, 937-948. doi: 0012-1649/94/$3.00

Howe, M.L., Courage, M.L., & Peterson, C. (1994). How can I remember when "I" wasn't there: Long-term retention of traumatic experiences and emergence of the cognitive self. Consciousness and Cognition, 3, 327-355. doi: 10.1006/ccog.1994.1019 (Reprinted in K. Pezdek & W. Banks (Eds.), The recovered memory/false memory debate. Academic Press)

Peterson, C. (1993). Identifying referents and linking sentences cohesively in narration. Discourse Processes, 16, 507-524.

Marche, T.A. & Peterson, C. (1993). On the gender differential use of listener responsiveness. Sex Roles, 29, 795-815.

Marche, T. & Peterson, C. (1993). The developmental and sex related use of interruption behavior. Human Communication Research, 19, 388-408.

Peterson, C. & McCabe, A. (1992). Parental styles of narrative elicitation: Effect on children's narrative structure and content. First Language, 12, 299-321.

Peterson, C. & McCabe, A. (1991). On the threshold of the storyrealm: Semantic versus pragmatic use of connectives in narratives. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 37, 445-464.

Peterson, C., & Dodsworth, P. (1991). A longitudinal analysis of young children's cohesion and noun specification in narratives. Journal of Child Language, 18, 397-415.

Peterson, C. (1990). The who, when and where of early narratives. Journal of Child Language, 17, 433-455.

McCabe, A., & Peterson, C. (1990). What makes a narrative memorable? Applied Psycholinguistics, 11, 73-82.

Peterson, C. (1989) Connectives as both pragmatic and semantic links in children's narratives. Journal of the Atlantic Provinces Linguistic Association, 11, 19-38.

McCabe, A., & Peterson, C. (1988). A comparison of adults' versus children's spontaneous use of "because" & "so". Journal of Genetic Psychology, 149, 145-159.

Peterson, C., & Marrie, C. (1988). Even 4-year-olds can detect inconsistency. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 149, 119-126.

Peterson, C., & McCabe, A. (1988). The connective “and” as discourse glue. First Language, 8, 19-28.

Peterson, C., & McCabe, A. (1987). The connective "and": Do older children use it less as they learn other connectives? Journal of Child Language, 14, 375-381.

Peterson, C., & McCabe, A. (1987) The structure of "and" coordinations in children's narratives. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 16, 467-490.

Peterson, C., & Peterson, R. (1986) Parent-child interaction and daycare: Does quality of daycare matter? Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 7, 1-15.

Peterson, C. (1986) Sex differences in conversational interruptions by preschoolers. Journal of the Atlantic Provinces Linguistic Association, 8, 23-28.

Peterson, C. (1986) Semantic and pragmatic uses of "but". Journal of Child Language, 13, 583-590.

Peterson, C., & McCabe, A. (1985) Understanding "because": How important is the task? Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 14, 199-218.

McCabe, A., & Peterson, C. (1985) A naturalistic study of the production of causal connectives by children. Journal of Child Language, 12, 145-159.

McCabe, A., & Peterson, C. (1984) What makes a good story? Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 13, 457-480.

Menig-Peterson, C., & McCabe, A. (1978) Children's orientation of a listener to the context of their narratives. Developmental Psychology, 14, 582-592

Menig-Peterson, C., & McCabe, A. (1977) Children talk about death. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying. 8, 305-317.

Menig-Peterson, C. (1975) The modification of communicative behavior in preschool-aged children as a function of the listener's perspective. Child Development, 46, 1015-1018.

Peterson, C., Danner, F., & Flavell, J. (1972) Developmental changes in children's response to three indications of communicative failure. Child Development, 43, 1463-1470.