Poster D115, Monday, March 26, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
How do developmental shifts in attentional control influence memory encoding?
Alexandra Decker1, Amy Finn1, Katherine Duncan1; 1The University of Toronto
The capacities to strategically allocate attention and to form episodic memories increase radically across childhood. Little is known about how developmental shifts in attention and attentional control impact memory because these domains are often investigated in isolation. Recent work, however, shows that endogenous shifts in sustained attention can directly impact memory formation in adults (deBettencourt, Norman, & Turk-Browne, 2017). We built off this work to investigate the interdependence of attention and memory development. We optimized a sustained attention task for children, in which participants could incidentally encode images of animals (n=32) and inanimate objects (n=300) while rapidly classifying each as ‘living’ or ‘nonliving’. We then assessed participants memory for the animals and objects in a recognition task. Crucially, we asked whether memory encoding depended on (1) endogenous shifts in sustained attention (measured by fluctuations in classification judgment reaction time) and (2) controlled shifts in attention (triggered by classification errors). Linear mixed effects modelling revealed that classification errors during encoding significantly affected later memory for the images immediately preceding and following the error (p < 0.001). Future work will extend this paradigm to developmental samples to investigate how shifts in attentional control and shifts in sustained attention—between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ states—influences memory in children.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Development & aging