Development of auditory sensory memory from 2 to 6 years: an MMN study
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- Glass, E., Sachse, S. & von Suchodoletz, W. J Neural Transm (2008) 115: 1221. doi:10.1007/s00702-008-0088-6
Short-term storage of auditory information is thought to be a precondition for cognitive development, and deficits in short-term memory are believed to underlie learning disabilities and specific language disorders. We examined the development of the duration of auditory sensory memory in normally developing children between the ages of 2 and 6 years. To probe the lifetime of auditory sensory memory we elicited the mismatch negativity (MMN), a component of the late auditory evoked potential, with tone stimuli of two different frequencies presented with various interstimulus intervals between 500 and 5,000 ms. Our findings suggest that memory traces for tone characteristics have a duration of 1–2 s in 2- and 3-year-old children, more than 2 s in 4-year-olds and 3–5 s in 6-year-olds. The results provide insights into the maturational processes involved in auditory sensory memory during the sensitive period of cognitive development.