Electrophysiological evidence of altered memory processing in children experiencing early deprivation

Dev Sci. 2012 May;15(3):345-58. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2011.01131.x. Epub 2012 Jan 18.


Associations between early deprivation and memory functioning were examined in 9- to 11-year-old children. Children who had experienced prolonged institutional care prior to adoption were compared to children who were adopted early from foster care and children reared in birth families. Measures included the Paired Associates Learning task from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test and Automated Battery (CANTAB) and a continuous recognition memory task during which ERPs were also recorded. Children who experienced prolonged institutionalization showed deficits in both behavioral memory measures as well as an attenuated P300 parietal memory effect. Results implicate memory function as one of the domains that may be negatively influenced by early deprivation in the form of institutional care.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adoption / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Female
  • Foster Home Care / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Intelligence / physiology
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Learning / physiology
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology
  • Time Factors