2021-22 Department of Psychology Colloquium Series -- Nick Turk-Browne, Yale University

Cognitive neuroscience provides a rich account of how different brain systems give rise to diverse forms of learning and memory. However, these theories are largely based on adult data and neglect the greatest period of learning in life, during early development. A key challenge for studying this age range is the limited set of behavioral measures available in infants. Neuroscientific techniques such as EEG and fNIRS provide a window into the infant mind, but have coarse spatial resolution and lack access to deep-brain structures important for adult learning and memory. I will present our recent efforts to adapt fMRI, a technique able to address these limitations, for studying human infants during cognitive tasks. I will focus on one line of studies in detail, concerning a mystery about how the brain supports statistical learning. We have shown in adults that the hippocampus is important for statistical learning, and statistical learning is a core building block of the infant mind, yet the infant hippocampus is assumed to be immature (e.g., to explain infantile amnesia). This and our other fMRI studies in awake infants aim to advance understanding of the functions and plasticity of the youngest minds and brains.

Time and Location: 
1:30pm, Gilmer 390 and Zoom
Friday, December 3, 2021
Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning and Memory in Infants