What: The Development of Memory Systems in the Brain
Where: BCBL auditorium
Who: Noa Ofen, PhD, Associate Professor. Department of Psychology and Institute of Gerontology and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute, Wayne State University, Detroit, USA
When: 12:00 PM
Episodic memory – the ability to encode, maintain and retrieve information – is critical for everyday life, yet fairly little is known about the development of episodic memory systems in the human brain. In this talk, I will present data from a series of studies with which we investigate how functional and structural brain development underlies changes in memory functioning throughout childhood and adolescence. Using functional neuroimaging methods, including fMRI and electrocorticography (ECoG), we characterize the neural correlates of memory processes and identify, across age, that an increase in prefrontal cortex (PFC) activations and functional connectivity is directly related to improvement in memory. Using structural MRI, we also find that age-related increase in the functional contribution of the PFC to memory may be directly related to improvement in the use of mnemonic strategies with age. The hippocampus, known to be critical for episodic memory, also shows a complex pattern of age-related differences across development. Using high-resolution structural MRI data, we investigate hippocampal maturation and find evidence that age differences in hippocampal subfield volumes are related to age differences in associative memory ability. Characterizing normative development of brain systems that support episodic memory has direct implications for the understanding of memory systems in adults and aging, as well as in atypical development.