Stability of Retrieved Memory: Inverse Correlation with Trace Dominance

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Science  22 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5636, pp. 1102-1104
DOI: 10.1126/science.1086881

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In memory consolidation, the memory trace stabilizes and becomes resistant to certain amnesic agents. The textbook account is that for any memorized item, consolidation starts and ends just once. However, evidence has accumulated that upon activation in retrieval, the trace may reconsolidate. Whereas some authors reported transient renewed susceptibility of retrieved memories to consolidation blockers, others could not detect it. Here, we report that in both conditioned taste aversion in the rat and fear conditioning in the medaka fish, the stability of retrieved memory is inversely correlated with the control of behavior by that memory. This result may explain some conflicting findings on reconsolidation of activated memories.

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