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Profiles Detail

William E. Merriman

Education: Ph.D., University of Minnesota (1984)

Research Area: Experimental - Developmental

Research Interests

My research focuses on children’s language, memory, and thought, with an emphasis on word learning and metacognition in early childhood. Some current lines of research concern:
  • Awareness of Gaps in Linguistic Knowledge -- What procedure does a young child use to decide that some word is unknown, that some object cannot be named, or that some utterance cannot be interpreted clearly? How is the accuracy of these decisions related to the efficiency of various cognitive processes?
  • Overconfidence in Memory – Why do young children make such unrealistically optimistic predictions about their memory performance? Why do they become less optimistic as they get older?
  • Word Learning– How do children infer the category that a word denotes from observations of how the word is used (and not used).

Courses Frequently Taught

  • Quantitative Methods in Psychology I (undergraduate)
  • Child Psychology (undergraduate)
  • Cognitive Development (graduate)
Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Merriman, W.E. (2014). Lexical Development. In P. Brooks, V. Kempe, & J.G. Golson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Language Development. SAGE: New York.

Lipowki, S.L.*, Merriman, W.E., & Dunlosky, J. (2013). Preschoolers can make highly accurate judgments of learning. Developmental Psychology, 49, 1505-1516. doi: 10.1037/a0030614

Lipko, A. R.*, Dunlosky, J., Lipowski, S. L.*, & Merriman, W. E. (2012). Young children are not underconfident with practice: The benefit of ignoring a fallible memory heuristic. Journal of Cognition & Development, 13, 174-188.

Lipowski, S. L.*, & & Merriman, W. E. (2011). Knowledge judgments and object memory processes in early childhood: Support for the dual criterion account of object namability judgment. Journal of Cognition & Development, 12, 481-501.

Marazita, J. M.**, & Merriman, W. E. (2011).  Verifying one's knowledge of a name without retrieving it:  A U-shaped relation to vocabulary size in early childhood.  Language Learning & Development, 7, 40-54.

Merriman, W. E., Moore, Z.*, & Granrud, C. E. (2010).  Children's strategic compensation for size underconstancy:  Dependence on distance and relation to reasoning ability.  Visual Cognition, 18, 296-319.

Lipko, A. R.*, Dunlosky, J., & Merriman, W. E. (2009). Persistent overconfidence despite practice: The role of task experience in preschoolers' recall predictions. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 103, 152-166.

Merriman, W. E., & Lipko, A. R.* (2008). A dual criterion account of the development of linguistic judgment in early childhood. Journal of Memory and Language, 58, 1012-1031.

Merriman, W. E., Lipko, A. R.*, & Evey, J. A.** (2008). How children learn to judge whether a word is one they know: A dual criterion account. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108, 83-98.


William E. Merriman
Department of Psychology
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