Hippocampal and posterior parietal contributions to developmental increases in visual short-term memory capacity

Cortex. 2014 Oct;59:95-102. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2014.07.010. Epub 2014 Aug 4.


Developmental increases in visual short-term memory (VSTM) capacity have been associated with changes in attention processing limitations and changes in neural activity within neural networks including the posterior parietal cortex (PPC). A growing body of evidence suggests that the hippocampus plays a role in VSTM, but it is unknown whether the hippocampus contributes to the capacity increase across development. We investigated the functional development of the hippocampus and PPC in 57 children, adolescents and adults (age 8-27 years) who performed a visuo-spatial change detection task. A negative relationship between age and VSTM related activity was found in the right posterior hippocampus that was paralleled by a positive age-activity relationship in the right PPC. In the posterior hippocampus, VSTM related activity predicted individual capacity in children, whereas neural activity in the right anterior hippocampus predicted individual capacity in adults. The findings provide first evidence that VSTM development is supported by an integrated neural network that involves hippocampal and posterior parietal regions.

Keywords: Development; Hippocampus; Individual differences; Posterior parietal cortex; Visual short-term memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult