Charting the ontogeny of memory specificity and generalization across childhood

Dec 13, 2022 | 16:00 CET | BCCN Lecture Hall Philippstraße 13 Haus 6, 10115 Berlin


Markus Werkle-Bergner, is a senior research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin

Abstract: Adaptive memories are formed in the face of a fundamental tension: extracting commonalities across experiences to generate novel inferences (i.e., generalization) while simultaneously forming separate representations of similar events (i.e., memory specificity). During childhood, this tension is amplified through the uneven progression of generalization and memory specificity. In particular, it is not well understood how children manage to consolidate both generalized and specific memories. Computational memory models suggest that specific experiences are initially encoded as hippocampus-dependent episodic memories and slowly become amenable to generalization through consolidation – typically facilitated by post-learning sleep.
In a series of studies, we aim to delineate the ontogeny of memory specificity and generalization across development in early middle childhood. Specifically, we test the conjecture that the uneven maturation of intra-hippocampal structures is longitudinally linked to the late emergence of memory specificity during childhood. Moreover, we ask the question in how far sleep-dependent memory consolidation amplifies the reliance on fast generalization in early childhood at the expense of memory specificity, the latter being tied to the late maturation of fast sleep-spindles.

This talk is hosted by SFB1315 subproject B04, and will be introduced by Yee Lee Shing. The Q&A will be moderated by SFB1315 Speaker Matthew Larkum.

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