Electroencephalographic studies of memory ability across the lifespan

Memory, the ability of our brain to encode, maintain and retrieve information derived from our individual experience, is central to defining who we are. Specifically, episodic memory enables individuals to remember past experiences that occurred in unique spatiotemporal contexts, that is, in particular places at particular times. In experimental research, episodic memory is conceptualized as a memory system integrating three fundamental types of information: “What”, the event or what happened to whom. “Where”, the location of the event in space. “When”, the occurrence of the event in time. In humans, the processing and integration of these different types of information into lasting memories appear to: (1) follow different developmental profiles, and (2) be differentially affected during normal aging. The ultimate goal of our research program is to decipher the neurobiological basis of human memory function across the lifespan.

Following our extensive characterization of spatial and non-spatial memory abilities of children (2-7 years old) and young (20-30-year-old) and older (65-75-year-old) adults (see project descriptions of: Développement de la mémoire spatiale allocentrique chez les enfants and Mémoire de travail et vieillissement : processus cognitifs), we are currently using electroencephalogric (EEG) recording and analysis techniques to identify the neurobiological signatures which characterize memory performance during these three different stages of development. Specifically we are correlating behavioral performance with resting state brain activity, as well as with signals recorded during encoding, active maintenance, and retrieval of information.