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Spatial Memory Development During Childhood

Brief description

In this study, we are interested in how spatial memory abilities develop during infancy and how these abilities relate to brain maturation. To study these questions, we will measure brain activity and eye movements while infants observe objects being placed at different spatial locations.

Eligibility for study participation

We are currently recruiting typically developing children for this study:

  • 42-60 month-olds
  • born after 37 weeks gestation

Participation Detail

This study involves two visits to the lab, 24 hours apart. The sessions will generally last about an hour and will be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you and your child. You will be with your child at all times.

Research Contacts


Johanna Bick, PhD

Full Description

During the first  years of life as infants are learning to crawl and walk, they build an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the space around them. Previous studies suggest that there are two distinct strategies to learning spatial representations and that these strategies emerge at different times during development. The first is an egocentric spatial memory (memory for locations is coded in relation to the body) that has been observed as early as a few months old. The second is an allocentric spatial memory (memory for locations is coded in relation to the surrounding environment) that emerges around preschool age.  

In this project, we aim to study the development of these two memory abilities and understand the specific neural circuits underlying them throughout early childhood. Given the impact of several neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism, schizophrenia and Down syndrome, on the behavioral and neural components of memory, it is of particular interest to understand the development of memory and the neural circuits underlying it. 

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