Department of Psychology
North Carolina State University
Research interests & goals:
Lynne Baker-Ward, a cognitive developmental psychologist, is Professor of Psychology at North Carolina State University. Her research, conducted with members of the Memory and Narrative Development (M&ND) Laboratory, examines the dynamic systems through which individuals develop capabilities in interpreting, remembering, and sharing significant personal experiences. One line of inquiry, conducted in collaboration with Drs. Carole Peterson of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Gwynn Morris of Meredith College, focuses on early autobiographical memory, including the earliest memories reported by children and adults. On-going investigations examine characteristics of memories that predict their long-term survival, the influences of language and emotion on the early encoding of memories, and the accessibility of childhood memories under different conditions. A related series of studies, conducted in collaboration with former CDS post-doctoral fellows Drs. Jennifer Bohanek and Amy Hendrick as part of the Durham Child Health and Development Study, addresses socio-cultural variations in children’s memory socialization and narrative production, and the linkages among these variables and academic outcomes. A second line of research examines age-related changes in individuals’ meaning-making through narrative, and the linkages among characteristics of event reports and indices of well-being. Recent investigations have examined the influences of properties of events (e. g., degree of controllability), and aspects of children’s self-concepts in this process. In a third series of investigations, Dr. Baker-Ward and Dr. Peter Ornstein, previously with the late Dr. Betty Gordon, study 3- to 7-year-old children’s abilities to remember salient personal experiences–specifically, a variety of medical procedures–for extended periods of time. This research which was motivated by questions concerning young children’s participation as witnesses in the legal system.