Yana Fandakova, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin: Cognitive control processes for learning and memory across the lifespan
Ensuring efficient learning and memory can be challenging: we need to select what to learn, learn so that new information can be retrieved after prolonged periods of time while remaining distinguishable from other memories, and retrieve the correct memory trace when we need it. Cognitive control processes play a critical role in effectively monitoring and regulating learning and memory according to current goals and task demands. These processes are particularly important during the early phases of learning, and failures to engage them can result in errors such as falsely remembering events that did not actually happen in the past. In this talk, I will present results stemming from several lines of research demonstrating that the neural mechanisms supporting cognitive control undergo pronounced changes throughout the human lifespan and are associated with less effective learning and memory in childhood and aging. I will also outline ongoing research to examine the extent to which age differences in cognitive control can be reduced with practice and training in childhood.