Henry L. Roediger, III

My research is concerned with retrieval processes in human memory, or how knowledge is recovered from memory. The topics below represent present lines of investigation: 1) Applying cognitive psychology to enhance education, 2) The genesis of false memories, 3) Memory athletes and other superior memorizers, 4) The relation between confidence and accuracy of memories, 5) Collective memory.

Email: roediger@wustl.edu
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A Biography of Henry Roediger

Henry L. Roediger, III is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis.  He was born in Roanoke, Virginia, immediately nicknamed Roddy, and spent most of his youth in Danville, Virginia.  He graduated as valedictorian and commander of the corps of cadets from Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Georgia in 1965 and then attended Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, graduating magna cum laudae with a B.A in Psychology in 1969.  He worked primarily with David G. Elmes as an undergraduate, and they published several papers (and, later, two books) together.  Roediger went on to graduate school at Yale University, working primarily with Robert Crowder and Endel Tulving, and received his Ph.D. in 1973.

Roediger became an assistant professor at Purdue University in 1973 and spent fifteen very good years on the faculty there, except for three years as visiting professor at the University of Toronto (1976-1978; 1981-1982).  In 1988 he was appointed Lynette S. Autrey Professor of Psychology at Rice University, and he spent eight profitable years in Houston.  In 1996 he left for Washington University in St. Louis, where he became Chair of the Department of Psychology until stepping down in 2004.  That same year he was appointed Dean of Academic Planning in Arts and Sciences, a position he held for ten years with 4 deans.

Roediger’s research has centered on human learning and memory and he has published on many different topics within this area. He has published over 300 articles and chapters on various aspects of memory.  His research interests over the years have included the effectiveness of retrieval cues in reviving memories; the use and effectiveness of mnemonic devices; cases of spontaneous remembering (reminiscence and hypermnesia); inhibitory processes in retrieval; dissociations between implicit and explicit measures of memory; factors responsible for memory illusions and false memories; aging and the arousal of illusory memories; applications of principles derived from cognitive psychology to improving education; collective and historical memory; and metaphors and theories used to explain memory and mental processes.  His research has been supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Organization for Research and Development, the National Institute of Aging, the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the James S. McDonnell Foundation.

Dr. Roediger has served many journals in an editorial capacity.  He was editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Learning, Memory and Cognition from 1985 to 1989 and was its associate editor from 1981-1984.  He was founding editor of Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (1994-1998).  He now serves as a Psychology Editor for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Roediger currently serves as consulting editor for 9 journals:  the American Journal of PsychologyApplied Cognitive Psychology; Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition; Journal of Experimental Psychology: General; Memory; Psychological Science; Psychological Science in the Public Interest; and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology.  He has served on several other boards in the past. In addition, Roediger served as Associate Editor for the Encyclopedia of Learning and Memory and a senior editor for the American Psychological Association/Oxford University Press Encyclopedia of Psychology, published in 2000.

Over the years Dr. Roediger has co-authored three textbooks that have been through a combined 23 editions. Psychology, an introductory textbook, went through 4 editions (last one in 1996). Experimental Psychology: Understanding Psychological Research is in its 9th edition (2009), and Research Methods in Psychology is in its 10th edition.  In addition, Roediger co-edited Varieties of Memory and Consciousness:  Essays in Honour of Endel Tulving (1989), Perspectives on Human Memory and Cognitive Aging: Essays in Honour of Fergus Craik (2001), The Nature of Remembering: Essays in Honor of Robert G. Crowder (2002), The Compleat Academic: A Career Guide (2004), Critical Thinking in Psychology (2007), and Science of Memory: Concepts (2007). In 2008, he edited Cognitive Psychology of Memory, which is Volume 2 of the 4-volume set Learning and Memory: A Comprehensive Reference.      

Dr. Roediger was President of the American Psychological Society (now the Association for Psychological Science) in 2003-2004. APS is the largest psychological organization dedicated to scientific psychology.  Previously, he was elected to the Governing Board of the Psychonomic Society (1986-1991) and served as its Chair in 1989-1990. The Psychonomic Society is the leading organization of experimental/cognitive psychologists. He was also President of the Midwestern Psychological Association (1992-1993), as well as the Experimental Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association. He served as Chair of Section J (Psychology) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2018-2019.

Roediger has mentored 30 students for their M.A. and/or Ph.D. over the years, many of whom have gone on to distinguished careers in academia. He has also mentored 15 postdoctoral fellows who have also become successful. He received the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award from the Washington University Graduate Student Association in 2008, as well as the APS Lifetime Mentor Award in 2016.

Roediger is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, and the Canadian Psychological Association. In 1994-1995 he held a Guggenheim Fellowship.  Roediger was elected a member of the Society of Experimental Psychologists in 1994, and he received the Howard Crosby Warren Medal from SEP for his work on illusory memories. In 2008 he received the Arthur Holly Compton Faculty Achievement Award from Washington University, and in 2017 he received the Founder’s Day Award. In addition, in 2012 he received the William James Award from APS, and in 2016 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science. In 2017 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

In 2004, Roediger received a Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa from Purdue University, and colleagues and former students held a festschrift in his honor. The proceedings of the papers resulted in the volume, Foundations of Remembering: Essays in Honor of Henry L. Roediger, III, edited by James S. Nairne.

According to a 1996 study by the Institute of Scientific Information, Roediger’s papers had the greatest impact (measured by their average number of citations) in the field of Psychology for the five-year period from 1990-1994. In 2005 he was named to the Institute of Scientific Information’s list of Highly Cited Researchers in Psychology and Psychiatry. His work has received about 57,000 citations in Google Scholar.

Recent Publications

Abel, M., Umanath, S., Fairfield, B., Takahashi, M., Roediger, H.L. & Wertsch, J.V. (2019). Collective memories across 11 nations for World War II: Similarities and differences regarding the most important events. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 8, 178-188.

Churchill, L., Yamashiro, J., and Roediger, H.L. III. (2019). Moralized memory: Binding values predict inflated estimates of the group’s historical influence. Memory, 27(8), 1099-1109. DOI: 10.1080/09658211.2019.1623261

DeSoto, K.A. & Roediger, H.L. (2019). Remembering the presidents. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 28(2), 138-144.

Finley, J. R., Wixted, J. T., & Roediger, H. L. (2020). Identifying the guilty word: Simultaneous versus sequential lineups for DRM word lists. Memory & Cognition, 48(6), 903-919. doi:10.3758/s13421-020-01032-6   

Lin, W., Strube, M. J., & Roediger, H. L. (2019). The effects of repeated lineups and delay on eyewitness identification. Cognitive research: principles and implications4(1), 1.

Putnam, A. L. & Roediger, H. L. (2018). Education and memory: Seven ways the science of memory can improve classroom learning. In J. T. Wixted (Ed.), The Stevens’ Handbook of Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. New York: Wiley.

Putnam, A. L., Ross, M. Q., Soter, L. K., & Roediger III, H. L. (2018). Collective Narcissism: Americans Exaggerate the Role of Their Home State in Appraising US History. Psychological science, 0956797618772504.

Roediger, H. L., Abel, M., Umanath, S., Shaffer, R. A., Fairfield, B., Takahashi, M., & Wertsch, J. V. (2019). Competing national memories of World War II. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences116(34), 16678-16686.

Roediger, H.L., Nestojko, J.F. & Smith, N. (2019). Strategies to improve learning and retention during training. In M.D. Mathews & D.M. Schnyer (Eds.), The Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience of Human Performance in Extreme Settings. (pp. 302-332). New York: Oxford University Press.

Roediger, H.L & Tekin, E. (2020). Recognition memory: Tulving’s contributions and some new findings. Neuropsychologia, 139, 107350https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2020.107350

Roediger, H.L. III and Yamashiro, J. (2019). History of psychological approaches to studying memory. In R.J. Sternberg and W. Pickren (Eds.), Handbook of the Intellectual History of Psychology: How Psychological Ideas Have Evolved from Past to Present. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.


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