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.

This is a review of two bodies of research conducted by myself and my colleagues that is relevant to child witness issues, namely childhood amnesia and children’s eyewitness memory for stressful events. Although considerable research over the years has investigated the phenomenon of childhood amnesia in adults, only recently has it begun to be investigated in children. For them, the age of earliest memory is a moving target over their early years. However, there is nonetheless both variation between children in how early their first memories are as well as variation between memories in terms of likelihood of being retained, and some factors influencing both are explored. In terms of eyewitness memory for stressful events, 2-13-year-old children who had been injured seriously enough to require emergency room medical treatment were interviewed. Long-term memory for these stressful events was traced, and factors influencing that retention were investigated. The findings from both areas of research have implications for developmental forensic psychology.