Séminaire du 20 mars 2012
Pamela Banta Lavenex présentera "The development of spatial memory in preschool children
- Intervenant : Pamela Banta Lavenex
- Laboratoire : Université de Fribourg
- Date prévue : 20 mars 2012 à 13h-14h
- Lieu : salle 106, 1er étage, bâtiment BSHM
- Titre : The development of spatial memory in preschool children
- Abstract : Episodic or autobiographical memories for events that happen in unique spatiotemporal contexts are central to defining who we are. Yet, there is a significant period during early childhood, specifically the first three years of our life,for which we have no episodic memories, a period known as infantile amnesia. It is well-known that episodic memory is dependent on the integrity and function of a group of brain structures known as the hippocampal formation.However, since it is difficult, if not impossible, to ask the youngest of children what they remember about the episodes of their life, other methods must be used to study the development of hippocampal-dependent memory.One of the methods used in our lab is to study children's allocentric spatial memory. Allocentric spatial memory is a fundamental component of episodic memory, and is itself dependent on the integrity of the hippocampal formation. Our studies have shown an age-dependent emergence of various components of what was previously believed to be the unitary phenomenon of allocentric spatial memory. We have shown that the ability to learn and remember an allocentric representation of the environment emerges around 2 years of age in children. Between 2 and 3.5 years of age, the ability to resolve closely related locations improves.Finally, our research has shown that by 3.5 years of age children are capable of exhibiting single-trial spatial learning, another fundamental component of episodic memory. Although children's capacity for single-trial learning improves with age, by 6 years some children are capable of performing as well as adults. I will discuss how the development of these different memory capacities can be correlated with the development of different hippocampal circuits.