Development of subjective and objective recollection: Evidence from event-related potentials
Rollins, Leslie Ann Hainley
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Memory, particularly memory for contextual details (i.e., recollection), undergoes significant development from middle childhood to young adulthood. This research examined the development of recollection utilizing participant's subjective reports as well as their objective accuracy for two contextual details (i.e., the color of the item and a semantic judgment made during encoding). The aims of the present studies were to examine age-related differences in subjective and objective recollection, the correspondence between these abilities, and their neural correlates. Participants included 6- to 8-year-old children, 12- to 13-year-old adolescents, and young adults. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded during the encoding (Study 1) and retrieval (Study 2) portions of a memory paradigm. Age-related improvements in objective and subjective recollection were found in both studies. At encoding, ERP indices of recollection were present when recollection was indexed subjectively or by accuracy for the semantic judgment made during encoding. In contrast, ERP responses were not sensitive to recollection when memory for color was used as the measure of recollection. ERP effects associated with recollection at encoding were not influenced by age. This finding suggests that children, adolescents, and adults process items similarly at the encoding stage. During retrieval, a recollection effect was only present when recollection was indexed by subjective judgments. Further, this effect was influenced by participant age. The effect was absent in children, topographically widespread in adolescents, and, consistent with previous literature (for review see Rugg & Curran, 2007), maximal over left centro-parietal leads in adults. Collectively, these findings suggest that ERP effects associated with recollection may be more apparent using subjective versus objective measures and that improvement in memory performance from middle childhood to adulthood is primarily attributable to the development of consolidation, storage, or retrieval processes.