Reconsolidation: The samsara of memory consolidation

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Memory formation is a complex and very dynamic process. After a learning event, the acquired information undergoes a number of changes that eventually result in memory storage. Stored memories are very malleable. Recent rediscoveries show that after reactivation, for example by retrieval, an established memory can become transiently sensitive to disruption and needs to undergo a process of restabilization, known as reconsolidation, to be maintained. The findings that stabilized memories can become labile have challenged the classical view of how memories are consolidated over time and stored. On the other hand, the reconsolidation process is not fully understood, and theories about the nature and function of memory reconsolidation remain controversial. In this paper, I will present my view on some of the controversial issues of memory reconsolidation and propose a hypothetical model for how this process contributes to memory stabilization. The debated issues that will be discussed are: (1) The term reconsolidation; (2) Temporal constraints of memory reconsolidation; (3) Classical theory of memory consolidation versus theory of memory reconsolidation; (4) Procedural constraints: what is it that needs to be reactivated to produce memory fragility? (5) Functions of memory reconsolidation; (6) Disrupting reconsolidation: an impairment of memory stabilization or retrieval?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalDebates in Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Amnesia
  • Consolidation
  • Memory
  • Protein synthesis inhibitors
  • Reconsolidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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