The Columns

Roddy Roediger ’69, Glynn Family Visiting Professor, to Give Public Lecture

— by on May 4th, 2009

Washington and Lee University’s psychology department will host Glynn Family Visiting Professor and psychology alumnus Dr. Henry L. ‘Roddy’ Roediger ’69 and his spouse, Dr. Kathleen McDermott, for part of the 2009 spring term. Roediger will give a public talk on Tuesday, May 5, at 5:30 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater in the University Commons.

The title of Roediger’s talk is “The Power of Testing: Enhancing Retention via Repeated Retrieval.” It is open to the public.

Roediger and McDermott, who are both on the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, are eminent researchers in the field of human memory. While in residence at W&L and in the psychology department, Roediger and McDermott will deliver several talks about their recent research, and Roediger will co-teach a special seminar on human memory with Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Jay Frye.

Roediger, who published several papers while an undergraduate research assistant with retired Dr. Dave Elmes, professor of psychology, has been an influential and highly visible figure in the cognitive psychology of human memory. Roediger is perhaps best known for his work on the development of false memories, which are erroneous memories that people misperceive as being accurate.

“Dr. Roediger is one of the most important figures in memory research today,” said Dr. Frye. “The classic Roediger and McDermott experiments lead to a task that is now one of the most studied paradigms in false memory research, and our students have an amazing opportunity to study with one of the most cited names in memory literature. As a false memory researcher, teaching with him will be a once in a lifetime experience. No one who studies, or has any interest in, false memory would not be thrilled to work with or study under Dr. Roediger.”

McDermott, who is an associate professor in the departments of psychology and radiology at Washington University, explores human memory function using behavioral and brain imaging techniques. Roediger is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Dean of Academic Planning in Arts and Sciences at Washington University.

The Glynn Family Visiting Professorship was established through the benefaction of John and Barbara Glynn. Their generosity has allowed undergraduate departments and programs to bring eminent figures to W&L for extended visits to benefit both students and faculty.