Memory Development and Disorders

Dr. Jamie Edgin, affiliated Sonoran UCEDD faculty, is the co-principal investigator of the UA Down Syndrome Research Group and principal investigator of the UA Psychology Memory Development and Disorders (MDD) Lab.  Until recent years much of memory (and general cognitive) development has been thought to be driven by developing control processes and strategies, reflecting the protracted course of prefrontal development. However, more recent data suggests that some medial temporal lobe (MTL) dependent processes, such as contextual binding, may also play a role in developmental change across childhood. In the MDD lab we explore how MTL-dependent memory and perceptual processes develop and how these functions can be fractured in atypical development. We find creative ways to measure MTL function in young children and those with neurodevelopmental syndromes, including Down syndrome. I believe comprehensive theories of cognitive development must account not only for normative development, but for the ways in which these processes may break down. The fundamental questions to answer must include both "How does memory develop?" and "How can we support memory development?" in those in which the typical developmental trajectory has changed. For several neurodevelopmental disorders, I believe a careful analysis of the role of sleep may help to clarify some of these questions.

Research Questions

  • Memory development, including the development of contextual binding and control processes
  • Measurement of memory function in young children and children with neurodevelopmental disorders (see the "Arizona Cognitive Test Battery for Down Syndrome")
  • The neurophysiological basis of recognition memory across development and in children with Down Syndrome- visit the EEG in the MDD lab!
  • The impact of a child's environment and health on medial temporal function (MTL), particularly the influence of sleep disturbance
  • Where MTL-dependent memory stands in the cascade of developing brain function. What are the developmental consequences of MTL disturbance?

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Jamie Edgin
(520) 626-0244
jedgin@email.arizona.edu