The ontogeny of memory persistence and specificity

Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. 2019;36

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

ISSN: 1878-9293 (Print); 1878-9307 (Online)

Publisher: Elsevier

Society/Institution: Flux: The Flux Society for Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

LCC Subject Category: Science: Physiology: Neurophysiology and neuropsychology

Country of publisher: Netherlands

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML

 

AUTHORS


Adam I. Ramsaran (Program in Neurosciences and Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, M5G 1X8, Canada; Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, M5S 3G3, Canada)

Margaret L. Schlichting (Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, M5S 3G3, Canada)

Paul W. Frankland (Program in Neurosciences and Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, M5G 1X8, Canada; Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, M5S 3G3, Canada; Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, M5S 1A8, Canada; Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, M5S 1A8, Canada; Child & Brain Development Program, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), Toronto, M5G 1M1, Canada; Corresponding author at: Program in Neurosciences and Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, M5G 1X8, Canada.)

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 31 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

Interest in the ontogeny of memory blossomed in the twentieth century following the initial observations that memories from infancy and early childhood are rapidly forgotten. The intense exploration of infantile amnesia in subsequent years has led to a thorough characterization of its psychological determinants, although the neurobiology of memory persistence has long remained elusive. By contrast, other phenomena in the ontogeny of memory like infantile generalization have received relatively less attention. Despite strong evidence for reduced memory specificity during ontogeny, infantile generalization is poorly understood from psychological and neurobiological perspectives. In this review, we examine the ontogeny of memory persistence and specificity in humans and nonhuman animals at the levels of behavior and the brain. To this end, we first describe the behavioral phenotypes associated with each phenomenon. Looking into the brain, we then discuss neurobiological mechanisms in the hippocampus that contribute to the ontogeny of memory. Hippocampal neurogenesis and critical period mechanisms have recently been discovered to underlie amnesia during early development, and at the same time, we speculate that similar processes may contribute to the early bias towards memory generalization. Keywords: Ontogeny, Infantile amnesia, Infantile generalization, Hippocampus, Neurogenesis, Critical period