• Hippocampal Circuit and Code for Cognition

  • About

    Established within the Brain Imaging Centre of the Research Centre for Natural Sciences in Budapest, Hungary, and generously funded by the National Research, Development, and Innovation Office (Grant FK128648), the Hippocampal Circuit and Code for Cognition Lab (HCCCL) strives to understand how the hippocampus and its networks support and implement human memory and cognition across the lifespan.

  • Research

    Development of the hippocampus across the lifespan

    Cutting-edge high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (hr-MRI) of the living human hippocampus offers an unprecedented window on the development of this intricate brain structure. We exploit hr-MRI together with experimental methods to understand the relationship between changes in the hippocampus and in human cognition across the lifespan.

    The hippocampus is the "new prefrontal cortex"

    The hippocampus is not only responsible for laying down long-term memories.

    Instead, this complex structure implements various mechanisms that participate in a multitude of cognitive processes.

    What are these mechanisms and how do they contribute to cognition? Through our research, we aim to provide some answers to these questions.

  • Research highlights

    Longitudinal Developmental Trajectories Do Not Follow Cross-Sectional Age Associations in Hippocampal Subfield and Memory Development

    Keresztes, A., Raffington, L., Bender, A. R., Bögl, K., Heim, C., & Shing, Y. L. (2021).

    New preprint! In a study including 109 healthy children aged 6-10 years, we found that cross-sectional age-associations and longitudinal developmental trends in hippocampal subfield volumes were highly discrepant, both by subfields and in direction. For instance, as shown here in the picture on the left CA1-2 volumes showed positive volume-age associations but negative change across two-year intervals. This study underscores that children’s structural brain development and its relationship to cognition cannot be inferred from cross-sectional age comparisons.

    Doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.14.448300

    Hair cortisol concentrations are associated with hippocampal subregional volumes in children

    Keresztes, A., Raffington, L., Bender, A. R., Bögl, K., Heim, C., & Shing, Y. L. (2020).

    The human hippocampus, crucial for memory across the lifespan, is highly sensitive to adverse life events. Stress exposures during childhood have been linked to altered hippocampal structure and memory performance in adulthood. So far, only few pediatric studies have examined glucocorticoid associations with hippocampal subfield volumes and their functional relevance. This article assessed whether volumes of hippocampal subregions were related to cumulative glucocorticoid levels (hair cortisol), parenting stress, and performance on memory tasks known to engage the hippocampus.

    Doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-61131-x

  • News



    Our lab participated in the European Researchers' Night. Check out our dedicated content (Hungarian only) here.



    Our student research assistant, Hunor won a 4-year PhD scholarship from Eötvös Loránd University. He will pursue his PhD in our lab studying the relation
    between pattern completion and pattern separation in early childhood.



    New preprint just out! Check it in the 'Research highlights section', or click here for the full read!



    Zsuzsa will present her poster at CNS 2021 virtual (March 13–16) on March 14, entitled "A Strong Test of Content-Specific Pattern Separation via Distinct Medial Temporal Pathways".



    HCCCL kicked off as an official Max Planck Partner Group this February with 3 new members joining the lab.



    Our student research assistant, Alex won a 4-year PhD scholarship from Eötvös Loránd University. He will pursue his PhD in our lab studying hippocampal computations supporting knowledge acquisition across the lifespan.



    HCCCL is partnering with the Center for Lifespan Psychology of the Max Planck Institute of Human Development in Berlin, Germany, becoming a Max Planck Partner Group between 2021-2025.



    HCCCL has its first PhD student: Zsuzsanna Nemecz. Tianyao Zhu has also joined HCCCL as a student volunteer. Welcome!



    Our research was featured at the BCCCD conference hosted by the CEU in Budapest. Great conference for developmental psychologists!



    HCCCL kicks-off at the Brain Imaging Centre of the Research Centre for Natural Sciences in the beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary.



    We started recruiting. Get in touch if you're interested in working with us as a student research assistant, or doing an internship, or embarking on a PhD.

  • The HCCCL team

    We are recruiting!

    Attila Keresztes, PhD

    Principal Investigator

    Attila recently wrapped up his postdoctoral years at the Centre for Lifespan Psychology (led by Prof. Ulman Lindenberger) of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany. There he worked in the Cognitive and Neural Dynamics of Memory Across the Lifespan group led by Dr. Markus Werkle-Bergner, Dr. Yee Lee Shing, and Dr. Myriam Sander. Prior to his post-doc, Attila had been first trained as an experimental psychologist at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, and then received his PhD in psychology and cognitive neuroscience from the Department of Cognitive Science at Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary in 2014.

    Alex Ilyés

    PhD Student

    Alex is just starting his PhD at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest. He is working with HCCCL on a study of lifespan development of memory functions. In his PhD thesis, he will investigate the contribution of pattern separation to semantic memory processes. Alex completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s studies at ELTE, where he worked under the supervision of Bálint Forgács, PhD. They developed a stimuli set and completed an EEG study examining processes underlying figurative language comprehension and the understanding of novel metaphors. Alex is broadly interested in language, memory and the neural processes underlying cognitive abilities.

    Zsuzsanna Nemecz

    PhD Student

    Zsuzsanna is a second year PhD at the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest (ELTE). She is working on lifespan development of memory functions and changes of hippocampal networks in aging. Zsuzsanna completed her undergraduate studies in psychology at ELTE, and obtained her Master’s Degree in cognitive neuroscience at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. Her main interests are hippocampal computations, cognition in young and old age, and increasing the ecological validity of stimuli in cognitive science. She is currently teaching an Experimental Research Methods seminar for undergraduate psychology students.

    Hunor Kis

    Student Research Assistant

    Hunor started his PhD at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest in 2021. His project with HCCCL aims to understand how pattern completion and pattern separation development shapes memory in early childhood. Hunor completed his Bachelor’s and Master's studies at ELTE, where he had studied the interplay between categorization and semantic memory. Hunor is keen on enriching our understanding of human memory by integrating novel neurocognitive models and traditional psychological concepts of memory.

    Virág Anna Varga

    Student Research Assistant

    Virág has recently finished her BA studies and is pursuing her MA in Cognitive Psychology at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest. In her BA thesis, she examined age-differences in associations between hippocampal pattern separation and anxiety. She is currently also working on a cross-cultural study on the effects of digital and non-digital fiction formats on empathic abilities.

    Ágota Vass

    Student Research Assistant

    Ágota is pursuing a master’s degree in Computational and Cognitive Neuroscience at Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME). During her master’s studies, she was investigating the relationship between hippocampal neural computations and schizotypy. At HCCCL, she will work towards uncovering the development of memory processes in childhood.

    Tamás Szűcs

    Student Research Assistant

    Tamás has recently started his studies in the Cognitive Psychology Master’s program at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest. During his undergraduate years he conducted research in the fields of numerical cognition, data analysis and research methodology with the aim to contribute to potential responses to the replication crisis in psychological sciences. His main research interests include consciousness and memory and how integrated representations are created in the human brain.

    Dóra Bodócs

    Student Research Assistant

    Dóri is currently studying in the Psychology Bachelor’s program of Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest. She is interested in developmental cognitive psychology, and especially in the development of memory and knowledge. She has joined the lab to broaden her understanding of cognitive neuroscience in general, and more specifically to study the neural mechanism underlying memory development. Dóri is also a member of the Illyés Sándor College for Advanced Studies.

    This may be your position

    Contact us!

    Connect with us if you're interested in working with us as a student research assistant, intern, or if you would like to do a PhD with us!

  • Alumni

    Anna Kispál

    Student Research Assistant

    Anna is currently studying in the cognitive psychology master’s program of Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest.

    Tianyao Zhu

    Student Volunteer

    Tianyao is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Queens.

  • Publications

    Key publications


    Keresztes, A., Raffington, L., Bender, A. R., Bögl, K., Heim, C., & Shing, Y. L. (2020). Hair cortisol concentrations are associated with hippocampal subregional volumes in children. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-12. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-61131-x


    Keresztes, A., Ngo, C. T., Lindenberger, U., Werkle-Bergner, M., & Newcombe, N. S. (2018). Hippocampal Maturation Drives Memory from Generalization to Specificity. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22 (8), 676-686. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2018.05.004


    Bender, A. R., Keresztes, A., Bodammer, N. C., Shing, Y. L., Werkle‐Bergner, M., Daugherty, A. M., ... & Raz, N. (2018). Optimization and validation of automated hippocampal subfield segmentation across the lifespan. Human Brain Mapping, 39 (2), 916-931. doi: 10.1002/hbm.23891


    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, 114 (34), 9212-9217. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1710654114


    Keresztes, A., Kaiser, D., Kovács, G., & Racsmány, M. (2013). Testing promotes long-term learning via stabilizing activation patterns in a large network of brain areas. Cerebral Cortex, 24 (11), 3025-3035. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht158


    Keresztes, A., & Racsmány, M. (2013). Interference resolution in retrieval-induced forgetting: Behavioral evidence for a nonmonotonic relationship between interference and forgetting. Memory & Cognition, 41 (4), 511-518. doi: 10.3758/s13421-012-0276-3

    Full publication list on google scholar

  • Résztvevőknek

    Ön 65-73 éves? Szeretné elsőkézből megtapasztalni, hogy milyen egy tudományos kutatás? Jelentkezzen a TérKépÉsz kutatásba!


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    Az MRI vizsgálatok menetéről itt tudhat meg több információt.

  • keresztes.attila.akk@ttk.hu

    +36 1 3826-903

  • Our host, the Research Centre for Natural Sciences is part of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network