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.
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.
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. (2022).
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 a two-year interval. This study underscores that children’s structural brain development and its relationship to cognition cannot be inferred from cross-sectional age comparisons.
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.
Our lab participated in the Little Scientists Afternoon organized by the CEU Babylab.
Visitors were introduced to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques and experimental tasks we use to better understand how brain development
supports memory development.
Zsuzsanna Nemecz, PhD student and head researcher of TérKépÉsz, and Alex Ilyés, PhD student and head researcher of Tezaurusz had both of their abstracts accepted for the Cognitive Neuroscience Society's 30th conference. They were joined in San Fransico by the head of our lab, Attila Keresztes.
We are joining forces with the ELTE Babylab to start a 3-year longitudinal investigation of memory development in 4–6-year-olds – the Neural Underpinnings of Memory Ontogeny (NeMO) study is set to start in 2022 in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.
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.
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 has its first PhD student: Zsuzsanna Nemecz. Tianyao Zhu has also joined HCCCL as a student volunteer. Welcome!
The HCCCL team
We are recruiting!
Attila Keresztes, PhD
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 is ja second year 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 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 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.
Student Research Assistant
Lili is a third year Psychology student of Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE)'s Bachelor's program. She is interested in the usage of functional MRI in psychology, and tremendously enjoys learning about the phases of research. She is most excited to learn about all the ways she can contribute to research and science, and later on hopes to use the skills acquired in schizophrenia and epilepsy research.
This may be your position
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!
Student Research Assistant
Dóra is currently studying in the Psychology Bachelor’s program of Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest. She is the recipient of the ERASMUS grant, and is currently studying in the Netherlands.
Keresztes, A., Raffington, L., Bender, A. R., Bögl, K., Heim, C., & Shing, Y. L. (2022). Longitudinal developmental trajectories do not follow cross-sectional age associations in hippocampal subfield and memory development. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 54, 101085. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2022.101085
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
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