MEG SCHLICHTING, University of Toronto
Title: Encoding of interrelated memories across development
Ebbinghaus Empire Series 2017-2018
Abstract: One of the biggest challenges facing the brain's episodic memory system is in simultaneously representing both commonalities and idiosyncrasies across interrelated experiences. Prior work in adults has demonstrated complementary hippocampal-prefrontal circuits that simultaneously represent the similarities and differences, respectively, across episodes. We also know that in adults, bringing to mind one's related knowledge during new learning can serve as a foundation for memory formation, facilitating encoding. Yet, how existing knowledge impacts encoding over development remains virtually unstudied--despite the observation that both hippocampus and prefrontal cortex continue to mature well beyond childhood. I will present preliminary fMRI data suggesting that the tendency to bring to mind related knowledge during new events differs across children, adolescents, and young adults. We propose that adolescents may actively suppress memories of related information to protect from interference and differentiate related experiences. Our results highlight the importance of considering that differences in neural mechanism may still be present during adolescence, even when adult-like memory behaviour has been reached. I will end the talk by describing planned future studies that will characterize the link between representational change and memory behaviours over development.
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