Development of the Episodic Memory Network in Early Childhood: Insights from Graph Theoretical Analysis

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The hippocampal memory network has been identified in both children and adults and shown to be related to episodic memory ability. However, it remains unclear how its organization may differ across development, particularly during periods of large behavioral gains in memory ability. The goal of the present study was to utilize graph theoretical analysis to investigate the integration of the hippocampus within the memory network and segregation from other networks (i.e., fronto-parietal and cingulo-opercular attention networks) in the brain. Results indicated that with age, there was a general increase in connections between the hippocampus and both regions within the memory network and regions in other networks in the brain. These differences may contribute to improvements in memory typically observed in early childhood. Future analyses will examine relations with memory behavior and probe whether segregation is observed using other metrics, a sample of adult data, or other networks (e.g., sensorimotor).