The overarching objective of this project is to understand how the dynamic interplay of maturation, personal experiences, and senescence drives and affects plastic changes on neural and behavioral levels across the lifespan. To this end, the RHYME project combines experimental approaches and longitudinal study designs with multi-modal data sources from several neuroimaging methods to uncover the foundations of intra- and inter-individual variations in intellectual functions such as perception, attention, learning, and memory.
Currently, the following themes build the focus of the project’s research activities:
How do lifespan changes in neuroanatomy and neurochemistry during maturation and senescence affect mechanisms of rhythmic neural activity that support attention, learning, and (working) memory?
What are the mechanisms driving the surprisingly close co-development of sleep physiology and improved cognition during childhood, as well as its decline during aging?
Do qualitative transitions in memory development during childhood depend on the maturation of intra-hippocampal structures?
Is it possible to derive personalized descriptions of maturational/senescent timing and intellectual potential within a given individual?
We often carry out electroencephalography (EEG), during which the electrical currents in the brain are registered on the scalp via electrodes. In some studies, we also use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), where the structure and functioning of the brain is made visible by magnetic fields.
Zoe Ngo and colleagues have written a mapping review that centers on methodologies, devoid of their construct labels, to re-characterize the composition of the memory development literature. A link to their interactive web application is provided.
Buchberger, E., Brandmaier, A. M., Lindenberger, U., Werkle-Bergner, M., & Ngo, C. T. (in press). The process structure of memory abilities in early and middle childhood [Registered Report]. Developmental Science.
Dahl, M. J., Mather, M., & Werkle-Bergner, M. (2022). Noradrenergic modulation of rhythmic neural activity shapes selective attention. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 26(1), 38–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2021.10.009
Muehlroth, B. E., Sander, M. C., Fandakova, Y., Grandy, T. H., Rasch, B., Shing, Y. L., & Werkle-Bergner, M. (2019). Precise slow oscillation-spindle coupling promotes memory consolidation in younger and older adults. Scientific Reports, 9, Article 1940. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-36557-z
Keresztes, A., Ngo, C. T., Lindenberger, U., Werkle-Bergner, M., & Newcombe, N. S. (2018). Hippocampal maturation drives memory from generalization to specificity. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22(8), 676–686. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2018.05.004
Keresztes, A., Bender, A. R., Bodammer, N. C., Lindenberger, U., Shing, Y. L., & Werkle-Bergner, M. (2017). Hippocampal maturity promotes memory distinctiveness in childhood and adolescence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(34), 9212–9217. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1710654114
Joechner, A.-K., Hahn, M. A., Gruber, G., Hoedlmoser, K., & Werkle-Bergner, M. (2022). Sleep spindle maturation enhances slow oscillation-spindle coupling. BioRxiv, September 6, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.09.05.506664
Ngo, C. T., Buchberger, E. S., Nguyen, P. T. U., Newcombe, N. S., & Werkle-Bergner, M. (2022). Building a cumulative science of memory development (Version posted online April 10, 2023). PsyArXiv, June 3, 2022. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/dwz2q