Ontogeny of hippocampus-dependent memory

Memories for events (i.e., episodic memories) formed in early development differ from those in adulthood in at least two regards. First, these memories tend to be rapidly forgotten (i.e., infantile amnesia). Second, they tend to be less precise than those formed in adulthood (i.e., infantile generalization). My talk will focus on the neurobiological mechanisms that account for these different operating characteristics of episodic memory in the developing brain. With respect to infantile amnesia, our studies have shown that maturation of hippocampal and cortical circuits is necessary for the formation of enduring event memories. With respect to infantile generalization, our studies reveal that maturation of inhibitory microcircuits in the hippocampus are necessary for the formation of adult-like, precise memories for events.