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Nat Neurosci. 2014 Sep;17(9):1263-9. doi: 10.1038/nn.3788. Epub 2014 Aug 17.

Hippocampal-neocortical functional reorganization underlies children's cognitive development.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.
2
1] Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA. [2] Department of Psychology, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, South Korea.
3
Department of Psychological Sciences, Interdisciplinary Neuroscience, University of Missouri, Columbia Missouri, USA.
4
1] Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA. [2] Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences &Program of Neuroscience, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.

Abstract

The importance of the hippocampal system for rapid learning and memory is well recognized, but its contributions to a cardinal feature of children's cognitive development-the transition from procedure-based to memory-based problem-solving strategies-are unknown. Here we show that the hippocampal system is pivotal to this strategic transition. Longitudinal functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 7-9-year-old children revealed that the transition from use of counting to memory-based retrieval parallels increased hippocampal and decreased prefrontal-parietal engagement during arithmetic problem solving. Longitudinal improvements in retrieval-strategy use were predicted by increased hippocampal-neocortical functional connectivity. Beyond childhood, retrieval-strategy use continued to improve through adolescence into adulthood and was associated with decreased activation but more stable interproblem representations in the hippocampus. Our findings provide insights into the dynamic role of the hippocampus in the maturation of memory-based problem solving and establish a critical link between hippocampal-neocortical reorganization and children's cognitive development.

PMID:
25129076
PMCID:
PMC4286364
DOI:
10.1038/nn.3788
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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