Direct brain recordings reveal occipital cortex involvement in memory development

Qin Yin, Elizabeth L. Johnson, Lingfei Tang, Kurtis I. Auguste, Robert T. Knight, Eishi Asano, Noa Ofen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Processing of low-level visual information shows robust developmental gains through childhood and adolescence. However, it is unknown whether low-level visual processing in the occipital cortex supports age-related gains in memory for complex visual stimuli. Here, we examined occipital alpha activity during visual scene encoding in 24 children and adolescents, aged 6.2–20.5 years, who performed a subsequent memory task while undergoing electrocorticographic recording. Scenes were classified as high- or low-complexity by the number of unique object categories depicted. We found that recognition of high-complexity, but not low-complexity, scenes increased with age. Age was associated with decreased alpha power and increased instantaneous alpha frequency during the encoding of subsequently recognized high- compared to low-complexity scenes. Critically, decreased alpha power predicted improved recognition of high-complexity scenes in adolescents. These findings demonstrate how the functional maturation of the occipital cortex supports the development of memory for complex visual scenes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107625
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Alpha oscillations
  • Electrocorticography
  • Memory development
  • Occipital cortex
  • Scene complexity
  • Visual memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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