Head and Coordination



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02/2018 – 12/2023


Predictive Memory Systems Across the Human Lifespan

The PIVOTAL project strives to understand how the human brain uses internal models and existing representations to generate predictions, and how predictions in turn affect memory processing.

The predictive coding framework suggests that the brain operates as a prediction machine; internal models in the brain predict future states against which incoming information of new experience is compared. This increasingly popular conceptual framework leads to two essential empirical questions that PIVOTAL will tackle: (1) What is the nature of the internal models on which predictions are generated and how do our actual experiences shape them? (2) How do prediction processes play out in human brains that are inherently diverse due to changes such as those caused by maturation and senescence.

PIVOTAL will integrate three separate strands of cognitive neuroscience research on predictive coding, memory systems, and lifespan development. By using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in experimental research designs, we aim to unravel the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie predictive processing based on individuals’ memory of prior experience (episodic memory) and well-learned knowledge about the world (semantic memory). These mechanisms will be systematically examined in children, younger adults, and older adults, who differ from each other in important ways due to divergence in developmental orientation (progression vs. conservation) and neurocognitive landscape (structural and functional integrity of memory neural circuits).


Selected Publications

  • Brod, G., Lindenberger, U., & Shing, Y. L. (2017). Neural activation patterns during retrieval of schema-related memories: Differences and commonalities between children and adults. Developmental Science, 20:e12475, doi:10.1111/desc.12475.
  • Keresztes, A., Bender, A. R., Bodammer, N. C., Lindenberger, U., Shing, Y. L., & Werkle-Bergner, M. (2017). Hippocampal maturity promotes memory distinctiveness in childhood and adolescence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114, 9212–9217, doi:10.1073/pnas.1710654114.