Neural Development of Memory and Metamemory in Childhood and Adolescence: Toward an Integrative Model of the Development of Episodic Recollection

Annual Review of Developmental Psychology

Vol. 2:365-388 (Volume publication date December 2020)
First published as a Review in Advance on October 9, 2020


Memory and metamemory processes are essential to retrieve detailed memories and appreciate the phenomenological experience of recollection. Developmental cognitive neuroscience has made strides in revealing the neural changes associated with improvements in memory and metamemory during childhood and adolescence. We argue that hippocampal changes, in concert with surrounding cortical regions, support developmental improvements in the precision, complexity, and flexibility of memory representations. In contrast, changes in frontoparietal regions promote efficient encoding and retrieval strategies. A smaller body of literature on the neural substrates of metamemory development suggests that error monitoring processes implemented in the anterior insula and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex trigger, and perhaps support the development of, metacognitive evaluationsin the prefrontal cortex, while developmental changes in the parietal cortex support changes in the phenomenological experience of episodic retrieval. Our conclusions highlight the necessity of integrating these lines of research into a comprehensive model on the neurocognitive development of episodic recollection.