Roediger honored by Purdue with ‘Roddyfest’

It might sound like a wrestling match, but when Purdue University recently hosted a conference called “Roddyfest,” some of the nation’s top minds were in attendance.

“Roddyfest: Directions in Memory Research,” honored Henry L. “Roddy” Roediger III, Ph.D., an internationally recognized scholar of human memory function and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor.

Roediger served as chair of the Department of Psychology in Arts & Sciences from 1996-2004, when he was named dean of academic planning in Arts & Sciences.

After earning a doctorate from Yale University, he became an assistant professor at Purdue in 1973.

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

Roediger’s research interests include such topics as how people can suffer memory illusions and false memories (remembering events differently from the way they happened or remembering events that never happened at all), implicit memory (when past events affect ongoing behavior without one’s awareness) and, most recently, applying cognitive psychology to improving learning in educational situations.

Roddyfest featured presentations by some of the nation’s leading memory experts, including and array of colleagues from the WUSTL psychology faculty: Endel Tulving, Ph.D., the Clark Way Harrison Distinguished Visiting Professor of Psychology; professors David A. Balota, Ph.D., Larry L. Jacoby, Ph.D., and Mark A. McDaniel, Ph.D.; and Assistant Professor Kathleen B. McDermott, Ph.D.

“I was very flattered for my friends at Purdue to hold a conference in my honor, although it did lead people to wonder if I were retiring prematurely, at 57,” Roediger said. “I had to assure everyone that I am going strong and plan to continue my research and writing for many more years.”