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Children's Memory Research Group

Current Graduate Students 

Jesse Elterman, M.A., PHD Candidate

Jesse is a Ph.D. student in the clinical-forensic program at SFU. His research interests are in children’s involvement in the legal system. For his MA, Jesse studied the role of race in perceptions of child credibility. We had adults rate the credibility of children from various racial backgrounds to see if they were biased in judging children’s credibility. For his PhD, Jesse is  examining whether children have the cognitive ability to malinger head injuries. Outside my work at school, I enjoy snowboarding and being out on the ocean. I feel fortunate to be able to further my education at SFU in the Children’s Memory Lab. I’ve found it to be a supportive environment in which I can challenge myself and learn.

Patricia Coburn, M.A., PHD Candidate


Patricia Coburn is a Ph.D. student in the Experimental Psychology and Law Program at SFU. Her Master’s thesis examined the influence of a potential motive to fabricate on observers’ perceptions of witnesses and memory for information in a legal case. For her PhD Patricia will continue investigating legal decision making with a particular focus on how heuristics and stereotypes influence interpretation of information in cases. She hopes to investigate issues pertaining to child witnesses, including the presence of a potential motive to fabricate and the effect of cross-examination on perceived credibility. When she is not in the lab or wandering the halls to get coffee with her fellow lab mates, Patricia spends most of her time hanging out with her three children. She is grateful to be a member of such a fantastic lab. 

Dayna Gomes, M.S., PHD Candidate

Dayna Gomes is a Ph.D. student in the Experimental Psychology and Law Program at SFU. Her research interests are varied, but she has a particular interest in investigative interviewing techniques of witnesses and suspects of crimes. For her master’s thesis, she studied the effects of expert testimony and judicial instruction in a disputed confession case. Her dissertation will examine the effects of a common forensic interviewing technique, mental context reinstatement, on children’s, young adults’ and older adults’ memory for atypical events.   

Megan Giroux, M.A. Candidate


Megan Giroux is an M.A. student in the Experimental Psychology and Law Program at Simon Fraser University. Her primary research interest lies in how false memories are encoded and recalled. Her undergraduate Honor’s thesis examined the roles that fantastical beliefs and post-event interactions have on children’s memory of an event. She plans to expand her research of false memories to different age groups in order to examine the differences in forming false memories across the lifespan. 

Camille Weinsheimer, M.A. Candidate


Camille Weinsheimer is joining the lab as an M.A. student in the Experimental Psychology and Law Program at SFU. Camille completed her Honour’s thesis at the University of Calgary where she explored whether testing can reduce the misinformation effect (the short answer: “sometimes”). This interest in memory and suggestibility is what drew Camille to the Connolly Lab, where she anticipates learning more about the exciting ways that the experiencing and reporting of events influence memory in a forensic context. Broadly, her research interests come from two paths: her background in art led the way to investigating memory processes, and her experiences working and volunteering at a centre for victims of sexual violence prompted her interest in the justice system.

Previous Graduate Students

Tristin Wayte, PHD


Tristin Wayte completed her PhD in the experimental stream of Law and Forensic Psychology in 2006. Her main area of research is child and adolescent mental health law, and her dissertation focused on comprehension of rights under the Mental Health Act.  After graduation, she became an Evaluation Consultant for BC Mental Health and Addiction Services, under the Provincial Health Services Authority.  She uses her research background to develop and implement projects that monitor clinical and program outcomes expected from treatment protocols, from programs and policies across Riverview, Children’s and Forensic Psychiatric Hospitals. The results of these projects are then looped back to the clinical and administrative teams in an effort to improve the quality of patient care.   

Heather Price, PHD


Heather Price is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Regina. After completing her Ph.D. with Dr. Connolly, she undertook concurrent postdoctoral fellowships with Dr. Peter Ornstein at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and with Dr. Kim Roberts at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her broad area of interest is in children as victims and witnesses. Specifically, she examines children’s memory for instances of repeated and stressful events, and investigative interviewing of children.

Heidi Gordon, PHD


Heidi Gordon completed her PhD in April of 2009. Her dissertation explored the influence of directed forgetting on children's autobiographical memory in an attempt to examine children's omissions, or failures to report details of an event.  Heidi completed a a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto studying children's moral development with Dr. Kang Lee.  She continues to investigate omissions in the context of children's lie-telling behaviour and secret-keeping. Heidi is working in the area of research and policy development with the Ontario government.

Jennifer A. A. Lavoie, PHD


Jennifer A. A. Lavoie completed her Ph.D. in the experimental stream of the Law and Psychology Program at Simon Fraser University. Jen joined Dr. Deborah Connolly’s lab in the fall of 2001 to begin he M.A. examining children’s memory and deception. Jen completed her PhD. under the supervision of Kevin Douglas.  Jen is currently an associate professor of criminology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario.

Jennifer Lucyk, M.A.


Jennifer Lucyk completed her M.A. in the experimental Law and Psychology program at Simon Fraser University. Her research interests centre on children’s memory and suggestibility, the effects of stereotypes of child sexual abuse (CSA) on judicial decision making, and the accuracy of witnesses’ person descriptions of strangers. Jen’s MA thesis examined the influence of event frequency and training on children’s accurate responding and ability to retract initial false reports. After completing her M.A. at SFU Jen went to the University of Ottawa and completed a law degree. She is practicing law in Ontario. 

Emily Slinger, M.A.


Emily Slinger was an M.A. student in the experimental Law and Psychology program. Emily’s research interests include children’s memory organization for repeated events, the effects of child sexual abuse (CSA) stereotypes on judicial decision making, and indices of social influence in mock juror deliberations. Her thesis applied a reaction time (RT) approach to the conceptualization of children’s natural memory organization for details of a repeatedly experienced event.  After completing her M.A., Emily went to Osgoode Hall to study law. She is practicing law in Ontario.


Current Honours Students & Their Thesis Titles 

Vivian Qi: Jurors’ evaluations of different types of evidence presented at trial

Bridgit Dean: Credibility assessments in child sexual abuse cases: The role of case typicality and competency declarations.

Previous Honours Students & Their Thesis Titles 

Ruby Banipal: The consistency of children’s reports of an instance of a repeated event or unique event

Sara Cox: Repeated events, deviations, and the recency/primacy effect in an adult population

Angelina Yui: The Perceived credibility of a child complainant in sexual abuse cases: The role of motive

Sangeeta Singh: Interplay of victim resistance, children's inherent honesty, and restrictive stereotypes in child sexual abuse cases

Chantelle Gates: Perceptions of witness credibility through the adolescent years across two allegation types

Research Assistants

Bridgit D ean 

Chelsey Lee

Felicia Luo 

Karen Mangat

Vivian Qi