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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Infant memory

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Abstract This article provides an overview of developments in long‐term memory during the first 2 years of life. Results from three of the most commonly used techniques to assess remembering in preverbal infants—visual paired comparison and visual habituation, conjugate reinforcement, and elicited and deferred imitation—are described. They illustrate infants' ability to encode and retain information as well as the rapid improvements in memory in infancy. A distinction between types or forms of memory is provided in the service of considering how infant memory abilities relate to memory development in early childhood. The review also features discussion of the likely sources of age‐related changes in memory in infancy, including the basic processes of memory trace formation and developments in the neural substrate that subserve them. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This article is categorized under: Psychology > Memory Neuroscience > Development

A representation of the visual paired comparison procedure. During the familiarization trials, the original stimulus is repeatedly presented on both the right and left sides of the screen until the number of seconds participants spend looking significantly decreases. Then, recognition is tested by pairing the original stimulus with a novel stimulus and looking time for the old and new stimulus is measured.

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'Party hat'—an example of a three‐step elicited imitation sequence. Before the trial, an experimenter allows the infant to freely manipulate the props as a baseline assessment of the number of actions and action in correct temporal order produced by the infant. Following this baseline period, the experimenter models three actions using the props, while narrating the steps of the sequence. After modeling, immediately and/or after a delay period, the props are given to the infant. The experimenter then allows the infant to imitate the experimenter's actions.

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A 6‐month‐old during the reinforcement phase of the operant train task. Each time the infant presses the lever, the train moves for 2 s and the light above turns on and off for one cycle. Any presses made while the train is moving are recorded, but are not reinforced. (Figure 1, pp. 74 and also see Ref 34).

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A 10‐month‐old wearing an ERP cap.

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