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The "when" and the "where" of single-trial allocentric spatial memory performance in young children: Insights into the development of episodic memory.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Ribordy Lambert Farfalla, Lavenex Pierre, Banta Lavenex Pamela,
Project The development of spatial relational memory in children.
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Developmental psychobiology
Title of proceedings Developmental psychobiology
DOI 10.1002/dev.21479


Allocentric spatial memory, "where" with respect to the surrounding environment, is one of the three fundamental components of episodic memory: what, where, when. Whereas basic allocentric spatial memory abilities are reliably observed in children after 2 years of age, coinciding with the offset of infantile amnesia, the resolution of allocentric spatial memory acquired over repeated trials improves from 2 to 4 years of age. Here, we first show that single-trial allocentric spatial memory performance improves in children from 3.5 to 7 years of age, during the typical period of childhood amnesia. Second, we show that large individual variation exists in children's performance at this age. Third, and most importantly, we show that improvements in single-trial allocentric spatial memory performance are due to an increasing ability to spatially and temporally separate locations and events. Such improvements in spatial and temporal processing abilities may contribute to the gradual offset of childhood amnesia.