Infancy is the time in our lives when we learn the most, including language, motor skills, and social relationships; yet, as adults, we remember none of the experiences that led to this learning. How is it possible that infants can learn without remembering? In adults, the hippocampus mediates learning by storing new information and slowly consolidating that information into cortex. However, how the infant brain mediates learning is less clear since infants appear to have limited memory of events and experiences, and the hippocampus has a protracted development into adolescence. In my research, I have investigated how the infant brain supports learning and memory. Statistical learning, the ability to extract regularities across episodes, is one type of learning I have focused on because it is thought to be foundational to learning during infancy (e.g., language acquisition). I showed that the infant hippocampus is involved in statistical learning, providing the first evidence that this region is functional in human infants as young as four months.


Ellis, C. T., Skalaban, L. J., Yates, T. S., Bejjanki, V. R., Córdova, N. I., & Turk-Browne, N. B. (2021). Evidence of hippocampal learning in human infants. Current Biology, 31, 1-7 Paper, Code, Data