Delayed recognition memory in infants and adults as revealed by event-related potentials

Charles A. Nelson, Kathleen M. Thomas, Michelle De Haan, Sandi S. Wewerka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The present study sought to compare adult and infant ERP responses in analogous tests of visual recognition memory. Adults were tested under two test conditions, in which they were given either explicit instructions to respond to a previously-seen stimulus, or no instructions. Testing in both conditions took place after either a 1- or 5-min delay between familiarization and test. Eight-month-old infants were tested under the same 'passive' (no instruction) conditions as adults. ERP morphology differed across age groups. Adults evinced a P300 that was larger under 'active' as compared to 'passive' test conditions, and a late positive slow wave response that was greater to novel than familiar stimuli. There was no evidence in infants of a P300, although infants did demonstrate a late positive slow wave that was greater to familiar than to novel stimuli. Parallels between the infant and adult findings are discussed and in particular, whether the infant slow wave response is the precursor to the adult P300.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-165
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The researchs upportedi n this manuscriptw as supportedb y grants from the NIH to the first author (NS32976)a nd to the Center for Research in Learning, Perception and Cognition (HD01751).W e wish to thank our adult participants and the many parents who consentedt o havet heir infants take part in this study.W e also wish to thank Merv Bergmanf or technicala ssis-tancea nd Kim Pearsonf or programmingW. e are particularlyi ndebtedt o Jennifer Mamer, Shawna Ehlers and Rose Dunn for testings ubjects.


  • Development
  • Event-related potentials
  • Infancy
  • Memory
  • Neuroimaging
  • Recognition


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