Neurocognitive modeling of latent memory processes reveals hippocampal-cortical circuit reorganization underlying learning and efficient strategies


Efficient memory-based problem-solving strategies are a cardinal feature of expertise across a wide range of cognitive domains in childhood. However, little is known about the neurocognitive mechanisms that underlie the acquisition of efficient memory-based problem-solving strategies. Here we develop, to the best of our knowledge, a novel neurocognitive process model of latent memory processes to investigate how cognitive training designed to improve children’s problem-solving skills alters brain network organization and leads to increased use and efficiency of memory retrieval-based strategies. We found that training increased both the use and efficiency of memory retrieval. Functional brain network analysis revealed training-induced changes in modular network organization, characterized by increase in network modules and reorganization of hippocampal-cortical circuits. Critically, training-related changes in modular network organization predicted performance gains, with emergent hippocampal, rather than parietal cortex, circuitry driving gains in efficiency of memory retrieval. Our findings elucidate a neurocognitive process model of brain network mechanisms that drive learning and gains in children’s efficient problem-solving strategies.

Communications Biology