Lifespan Rhythms of Memory and Cognition (RHYME)

 

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?

Student Assistants Sought

Student Assistants Sought

(40–80 h/month) German speakers for study on memory development in children (18–24 months)!

Measurement Methods

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.

Putting on an EEG cap

Putting on an EEG cap

Example of an EEG measurement

Example of an EEG measurement

EEG measurement in sleeping child

EEG measurement in sleeping child

Preparation for an MRI measurement

Preparation for an MRI measurement


To present a summary of the number of entries in the memory development literature published between 1970 and 2021.
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. more

Key Publications

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.
Ngo, C. T., Buchberger, E. S., Nguyen, P. T. U., Newcombe, N. S., & Werkle-Bergner, M. (2024). Building a cumulative science of memory development. Developmental Review, 72, Article 101119. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2024.101119
Joechner, A.-K., Hahn, M. A., Gruber, G., Hoedlmoser, K., & Werkle-Bergner, M. (2023). Sleep spindle maturity promotes slow oscillation-spindle coupling across child and adolescent development. eLife, 12, Article e83565. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.83565
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
Joechner, A.-K., Wehmeier, S., & Werkle-Bergner, M. (2021). Electrophysiological indicators of sleep-associated memory consolidation in 5- to 6-year-old children. Psychophysiology, 58(8), Article e13829. https://doi.org/10.1111/psyp.13829
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
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