Peterson, C., & Whalen, N. (2001). Five years later: Children's memory for medical emergencies. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 15, 1-18.


Children who had been 2-13 years of age at the time of a medical emergency (an injury serious enough to require hospital ER treatment) were re-interviewed about their injury and treatment five years after injury, and three years after a previous interview. The children showed excellent recall of the central components of their injury experience, although their recall of hospital treatment was more incomplete. Thus, both the nature of the event being recalled (the injury versus the hospital treatment) and the centrality of information (central versus peripheral) were important. The recall of 2 year olds, although not as good as that of children just a year older, did not fit with predictions of infantile amnesia since they recalled a considerable amount about their injury. High stress levels at the time of the target experiences had little effect on the highly memorable injury event, but seemed to facilitate children's recall of central components of the hospital event - the event that they had a harder time remembering. Implications for eyewitness testimony are discussed.