Parallel learning and memory systems supported by different neurobiological substrates contribute different representations of the world. This project aims to describe the emergence, development, and function of these different parallel memory systems in children and adults with a typical development, and in individuals with Down syndrome (Trisomy 21 or T21) or Williams syndrome (WS).

Research in animals and humans has revealed that there are multiple parallel but dissociable memory systems in the brain. In our laboratory, we focus on understanding the interaction between the hippocampus-dependent “cognitive” (a.k.a. declarative/explicit) memory system that encodes information in flexible, relational representations, and the dorsal striatum-dependent “habit” memory system that encodes information in fixed stimulus-response representations. Whereas the majority of our understanding of the existence and interactions between these two different memory systems comes from studies of spatial memory, this project aims to understand how these two different memory systems interact outside the spatial domain. The interaction between these different memory systems will be investigated in typically developing children and adults, and in individuals with known impairments in hippocampal-dependent cognitive processes, such as individuals with Down syndrome or with Williams syndrome.


  • Association Suisse du Syndrome de Williams (Switzerland)
  • ART21 Association Romande Trisomie 21 (Switzerland)
  • Associazione Famiglie Sindrome di Williams (Milano, Italy)
  • Associazione Genitori Sindrome di Williams (Italy)
  • Associazione Italiana Persone Down (Italy)

Dauer des Projekts

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2021


Prof. Dr. Pamela Banta Lavenex
Prof. Dr. Pamela Banta Lavenex Associate professor
Pierre Lavenex
Pierre Lavenex Ph.D. Co-PI, Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Development, Institute of Psychology, University of Lausanne
Emilie Bochud
Emilie Bochud Doctoral researcher, University of Lausanne
Stefano Vicari
Stefano Vicari Professor, Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, Rome