Prefrontal-striatal circuitry supports adaptive memory prioritization across development

AbstractPrevious work has revealed that the ability to strategically encode high-value information may improve gradually over development as cognitive control mechanisms mature. However, studies of value-directed memory have relied on explicit cues of information value, which are rarely present in real-world contexts. Here, using a novel fMRI paradigm, we examined whether individuals across a wide age range (N = 90; ages 8 – 25 years) could learn the value of information from experience and use learned value signals to strategically modulate memory. We found that memory prioritization for high-value information improved across development, and was supported by increased engagement of the caudate and prefrontal cortex during both encoding and retrieval of high-value information. Our results suggest that across development, the dynamic adjustment of memory based on the statistics of the environment is supported by a wide network of brain regions involved in both the recognition and use of information value.

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