Brief Communications

Nature 419, 896 (31 October 2002) | doi:10.1038/419896a

Brain development: Memory enhancement in early childhood

Conor Liston & Jerome Kagan

Regions of the brain's frontal lobe that are associated with memory retention and retrieval1, 2 begin to mature during the last quarter of the first year in humans. This implies that infants younger than 8 or 9 months should have difficulty in registering an experience and retrieving it after a long delay3, 4. Here we show that 13-month-old children are unable to recall a sequence of actions performed in front of them when they were 9 months old, whereas 21- and 28-month-olds are able to retrieve representations of the same acts when these were witnessed at 17 and 24 months. Our findings indicate that long-term retention increases during the second year and support the idea that maturation of the frontal lobe at the end of the first year contributes to memory enhancement during this period.

  1. Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

Correspondence to: e-mail: Email: cliston@post.harvard.edu