Ontogenesis of Memory Consolidation

The Memokid study  

Humans’ capacity to remember experienced episodes for years and decades has its roots in early childhood and is substantially based on the process of memory consolidation. At the system level, memory consolidation entails the reorganization and transformation of acquired information across different brain circuits. This is a temporally evolving process that involves changes in the interaction between medial temporal lobe (MTL) and prefrontal brain regions, which may be modulated by pre-existing knowledge. However, the developmental dynamics of neural mechanisms that underlie system-level memory consolidation is still not well understood.

Together with Prof. Dr. Claudia Buß (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Angela M. Kaindl (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin), we address this problem using an experimental approach in combination with multi-modal neuroimaging techniques. With cohorts of typically developing term-born and preterm-born children, we examine how early-onset alterations in MTL anatomy and function due to preterm birth may affect memory consolidation. Comparing the children groups with a young adult group, we aim to establish the mechanisms of memory consolidation in the developing brain. This project will enable new insights regarding the dynamics of neural development and plasticity underlying system-level memory consolidation. More information can be found here.

We also examine how the consolidation of events (i.e. object-scene associations) that are congruent or incongruent with pre-existing knowledge evolves across two weeks. This study is conducted in combination with eye-tracking in cohorts of typically developing term-born 6-7-year-old, 9-10-year-old children, young adults and older adults. With this project new insights will be gained regarding the dynamics of memory consolidation across the lifespan. Together with Prof. Dr. med. Christoph Ploner (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin) and Prof. Dr. med. Carsten Finke (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin) we examine the developmental dynamics of memory consolidation of spatial information learnt during the navigation in virtual environment. More information can be found here.

This study is funded by the German Research Foundation as a subproject within the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB1315 Mechanisms and disturbances in memory consolidation: From synapses to systems). For more details, see https://www.sfb1315.de/de/research/b04-2/


Schommartz, I., Lembcke, P. F., Schuetz, H., de Chamorro, N. W., Bauer, M., Kaindl, A. M., Buss, C., & Shing, Y. L. (2021). From Learning to Remembering: How Memory Consolidation Differs in Term and Preterm Born Children from Young Adults. BioRxiv, 2021.08.24.457558. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.08.24.457558