Purdue University conference honors WUSTL memory expert Roddy Roediger, March 25-27

Some of the nation’s top memory researchers are meeting at Purdue University on March 25-27 to talk about the most important findings in the field and to honor one of their own.

The conference, titled “Roddyfest: Directions in Memory Research,” honors Henry L. “Roddy” Roediger III, an internationally recognized scholar of human memory function and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Washington University.

Roediger served as chair of the Department of Psychology here from 1996 until 2004, when he was named Dean of Academic Planning in Arts & Sciences. He received an honorary doctorate from Purdue last year.

All sessions are free and open to the public. Registration is available online , or beginning at 1:30 p.m. March 25 in front of Stewart Center, Room 202. For more information, call (765) 494-7221.

Henry Roediger
Henry Roediger

“Roddy’s fundamental discoveries were in memory retrieval processes,” said James Nairne, Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences and conference coordinator. “And Roddy is best-known for his implicit memory work, which analyzes why it is that people remember something when the person is not aware that they are remembering that information.”

Roediger’s research interests also include retrieval cues in reviving memories, the use and effectiveness of memory devices, and factors responsible for memory illusions and false memories.

Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Irvine, will speak at 2:45 p.m. on March 25. Loftus is one of the nation’s leading experts in false witness testimony and repressed memory. She has served as a consultant or an expert witness in the trial of Oliver North, the trial of officers accused in the Rodney King beating, the Menedez brothers case, the Michael Jackson case and the Oklahoma City bombing case.

Purdue’s Aimée Surprenant and Richard Schweickert, also will present at the conference. Surprenant, associate professor and director of the Purdue Cognitive Aging and Memory Lab, will discuss how memory in older adults differs from memory in younger adults both today and historically, dating back to the Greco-Roman period (first century B.C. though the fourth century). Schweickert, a professor of psychological sciences, will talk about associations in memory and dreams. Surprenant’s talk is at 9 a.m. on March 27, and Schweickert’s talk follows at 9:30 a.m.

Roediger became an assistant professor at Purdue in 1973 after earning his doctorate from Yale University. He was appointed professor of psychology at Rice University in 1988 and, eight years later, became the department chair at Washington University.

“Roddy helped establish Purdue’s reputation in memory research by expanding the cognitive area of study,” Nairne said. “Thanks to his work in the 1970s, Purdue has continued to attract and support great researchers in the memory field.”

Editor’s Note: This release was written by Amy Patterson-Neubert of the Purdue News Service.