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Memory. 1999 Mar;7(2):147-74.

When the event is more than the sum of its parts: 9-month-olds' long-term ordered recall.

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  • 1University of Washington, Seattle 98195, USA.


Research suggests that 9-month-old infants are able to recall single object-specific actions over delays of 24 hours. In the present research we investigated whether 9-month-olds are able to recall over more extended delays, and to recall the temporal order of events, as well as the individual actions in them. In addition, we investigated whether recall can be enhanced by pre- and/or re-exposure to target events. Using elicited imitation of novel, multi-step event sequences, we demonstrated that, as a group, 9-month-olds are able to recall target actions after delays of five weeks. However, after this long delay, only 45% of the infants recalled the temporal order of the events. Re-exposure to events during the delay interval proved necessary for boys, but not for girls; pre-exposure to events did not affect later recall. The implications of individual differences in infants' recall ability for the understanding of the development of the neural correlates of declarative memory are discussed.

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