New insights in human memory interference and consolidation

Robertson, E. M. (2012) New insights in human memory interference and consolidation. Current Biology, 22(2), R66-R71. (doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.11.051) (PMID:22280913) (PMCID:PMC3267959)

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Learning new facts and skills in succession can be frustrating because no sooner has new knowledge been acquired than its retention is being jeopardized by learning another set of skills or facts. Interference between memories has recently provided important new insights into the neural and psychological systems responsible for memory processing. For example, interference not only occurs between the same types of memories, but can also occur between different types of memories, which has important implications for our understanding of memory organization. Converging evidence has begun to reveal that the brain produces interference independently from other aspects of memory processing, which suggests that interference may have an important but previously overlooked function. A memory's initial susceptibility to interference and subsequent resistance to interference after its acquisition has revealed that memories continue to be processed 'off-line' during consolidation. Recent work has demonstrated that off-line processing is not limited to just the stabilization of a memory, which was once the defining characteristic of consolidation; instead, off-line processing can have a rich diversity of effects, from enhancing performance to making hidden rules explicit. Off-line processing also occurs after memory retrieval when memories are destabilized and then subsequently restabalized during reconsolidation. Studies are beginning to reveal the function of reconsolidation, its mechanistic relationship to consolidation and its potential as a therapeutic target for the modification of memories.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robertson, Professor Edwin
Authors: Robertson, E. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:Current Biology
Publisher:Elsevier (Cell Press)
ISSN (Online):1879-0445
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2012 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Current Biology 22:R66-71
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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