Development of the declarative memory system in the human brain.
Brain regions that are involved in memory formation, particularly medial temporal lobe (MTL) structures and lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC), have been identified in adults, but not in children. We investigated the development of brain regions involved in memory formation in 49 children and adults (ages 8-24), who studied scenes during functional magnetic resonance imaging. Recognition memory for vividly recollected scenes improved with age. There was greater activation for subsequently remembered scenes than there was for forgotten scenes in MTL and PFC regions. These activations increased with age in specific PFC, but not in MTL, regions. PFC, but not MTL, activations correlated with developmental gains in memory for details of experiences. Voxel-based morphometry indicated that gray matter volume in PFC, but not in MTL, regions reduced with age. These results suggest that PFC regions that are important for the formation of detailed memories for experiences have a prolonged maturational trajectory.