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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Comparative approaches to memory development


Memories for events experienced during infancy and early childhood are rarely recollected later in life—a phenomenon termed infantile and childhood amnesia. The formation and retrieval of such episodic memories relies, in part, on the hippocampus. Characterizing the role of hippocampal development in offsetting infantile and childhood amnesia is key to understanding (i) why infantile and childhood amnesia occur and (ii) how episodic memory capacities develop in early ontogeny. Comparative research is necessary for this enterprise because many paradigms and techniques work better with humans or with non-human animals. The four papers in this symposium gather current work in developmental psychology, developmental cognitive neuroscience, and behavioral neuroscience that characterizes the complex and heterogenous developmental profile of behavioral gains in component processes underlying episodic memory capacity in humans and work on the mammalian hippocampus and how it accompanies development. By leveraging and triangulating multiple levels of analyses, we can gain insights that are unavailable using a siloed approach. This collection of work helps delineate clear future directions for a comparative approach in memory development.

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