Thierry, Karen L.
Ph.D, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas, 2000
Professional Summary/CV [.PDF]
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Camden; Rutgers
Areas of Interest
Children’s memory for personally experienced events, Children’s understanding of the origin of information and its effect on memory.
Eyewitness Testimony, Educational Psychology, Experimental Psychology w/Lab, Psychology of Childhood, Method and Theory in Psychology.
Memberships and Professional Service
American Psychological Society, Society for Research in Child Development, Cognitive Development Society, American Psychology-Law Society.
Grants, Honors, and Awards
R03 Award, NICHD Small Grants Program, National Institutes of Health, 2005–2007; Minority Junior Faculty Award, Christian R. & Mary F. Lindback Foundation, 2004–2005; Intramural Research Training Award, National Institutes of Health, 2000–2003; Graduate Minority Fellowship, Cognitive Development Society, 1999; Texas Public Education Grant, University of Texas at Dallas, 1995-2000; Scholarships: William T. Rissi, University of Notre Dame, 1994-1995; Holy Cross Award, University of Notre Dame, 1993-1994; Chemical Bank, University of Notre Dame, 1992-1994; William A. Dotterweich Memorial, University of Notre Dame, 1991-1995; Merrill Lynch, University of Notre Dame, 1991-1993; Balfour Foundation, University of Notre Dame, 1991-1993.
Academic Interests and Plans
I study the development of children’s memory for personally experienced events, particularly their allegations of sexual abuse. I am interested in factors that help 3- to 6-year-olds to recall events accurately and completely. One of these factors is children’s understanding of the origin, or source, of information. My research indicates that training 3- to 4-year-olds to monitor source enhances the accuracy of their responses to leading and misleading questions about a witnessed event. Awareness of the source of information also predicts the amount of information that children freely recall about alleged sexual and physical abuse. That is, children with more awareness of source are more likely to spontaneously recall details of abuse (without specific prompts from interviewers) than children with less source awareness. Another factor related to recall accuracy and completeness is the use of dolls and props as interview aids with young children. My colleagues at the National Institutes of Health and I are examining whether anatomical dolls elicit contradictory and fantastic information from alleged abuse victims. Such information could decrease the credibility of children’s reports of alleged abuse.