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The Development of Adaptive Memory During Childhood

Knott, L. ORCID: 0000-0003-2897-3245, Howe, M. L. ORCID: 0000-0002-5747-5571, Wang, J. & Otgaar, H. The Development of Adaptive Memory During Childhood. In: Toglia, M. P., Otgaar, H., Altarriba, J. & Erickson, B. (Eds.), Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Advances in Understanding Adaptive Memory. . New York, USA: Oxford University Press.


In this chapter we explore the development of adaptive memory during childhood. The survival processing advantage is said to enhance learning and memory because evolution has led to the prioritization of the retention of fitness-relevant information. However, various studies have demonstrated that survival processing involves elaborate, distinctive, relational, and selfreferential encoding, which can predict the memorial advantage of survival processing and other adaptive memory benefits. Furthermore, research suggests that these effects are consistent across development, indicating that fitness-relevant survival processing is observable even very early in children's memory. Throughout the chapter we examine how fitness-relevant information processing engages multiple cognitive processes simultaneously, leading to mnemonic advantages. These processes begin to develop early in childhood and can be observed in various contexts. We review the position that although our current memory system is the result of evolutionary pressures, it is not essential for an evolutionary hypothesis of memory to consider the survival-processing advantage as a distinct component of adaptive memory that remains invariant across development. We conclude by emphasizing the need for further scientific investigation to understand the functional properties of memory, including both the role of proximate mechanisms in adaptive memory in general and survival processing specifically. Although research in this area has started, there is still much to be discovered about the development of these mechanisms and their relevance to changes in our adaptive memory systems.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is a draft of a chapter that has been accepted for publication by Oxford University Press in the forthcoming book Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Advances in Understanding Adaptive Memory edited by M. P. Toglia, H. Otgaar, J. Altarriba, and B. Erickson due for publication in 2023.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
[thumbnail of Knott-Howe-Wang-Otgaar Adaptive Memory Chapter In Press.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
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