Neural correlates of successful memory encoding in kindergarten and early elementary school children: longitudinal trends and effects of schooling

  • From age 5 to 7, there are remarkable improvements in children’s cognitive abilities (“5–7 shift”). In many countries, including Germany, formal schooling begins in this age range. It is, thus, unclear to what extent exposure to formal schooling contributes to the “5–7 shift.” In this longitudinal study, we investigated if schooling acts as a catalyst of maturation. We tested 5-year-old children who were born close to the official cutoff date for school entry and who were still attending a play-oriented kindergarten. One year later, the children were tested again. Some of the children had experienced their first year of schooling whereas the others had remained in kindergarten. Using 2 functional magnetic resonance imaging tasks that assessed episodic memory formation (i.e., subsequent memory effect), we found that children relied strongly on the medial temporal lobe (MTL) at both time points but not on the prefrontal cortex (PFC). In contrast, older children and adults typically show subsequent memory effects in both MTL and PFC. Both children groups improved in their memory performance, but there were no longitudinal changes nor group differences in neural activation. We conclude that successful memory formation in this age group relies more heavily on the MTL than in older age groups.

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Author:Sophie Nolden, Garvin BrodORCiDGND, Ann-Kristin Meyer, Yana Fandakova, Yee Lee ShingORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Cerebral Cortex
Document Type:Preprint
Date of Publication (online):2021/04/24
Date of first Publication:2021/04/24
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/04/25
Tag:fMRI; hippocampus; memory; prefrontal cortex; schooling; subsequent memory effect
Page Number:43
This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Cerebral Cortex following peer review. The version of record Sophie Nolden, Garvin Brod, Ann-Kristin Meyer, Yana Fandakova, Yee Lee Shing, Neural Correlates of Successful Memory Encoding in Kindergarten and Early Elementary School Children: Longitudinal Trends and Effects of Schooling, Cerebral Cortex, Volume 31, Issue 8, August 2021, Pages 3764–3779 is available online at: 6248485;
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht