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Learn Mem. 2007 Apr 10;14(4):295-303. Print 2007 Apr.

Reconsolidation of declarative memory in humans.

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Laboratorio de Neurobiología de la Memoria, Departamento de Fisiología y Biología Molecular y Celular, IFIBYNE-CONICET, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The reconsolidation hypothesis states that a consolidated memory could again become unstable and susceptible to facilitation or impairment for a discrete period of time after a reminder presentation. The phenomenon has been demonstrated in very diverse species and types of memory, including the human procedural memory of a motor skill task but not the human declarative one. Here we provide evidence for both consolidation and reconsolidation in a paired-associate learning (i.e., learning an association between a cue syllable and the respective response syllable). Subjects were given two training sessions with a 24-h interval on distinct verbal material, and afterward, they received at testing two successive retrievals corresponding to the first and second learning, respectively. Two main results are noted. First, the first acquired memory was impaired when a reminder was presented 5 min before the second training (reconsolidation), and also when the second training was given 5 min instead of 24 h after the first one (consolidation). Second, the first retrieval proved to influence negatively on the later one (the retrieval-induced forgetting [RIF] effect), and we used the absence of this RIF effect as a very indicator of the target memory impairment. We consider the demonstration of reconsolidation in human declarative memory as backing the universality of this phenomenon and having potential clinical relevance. On the other hand, we discuss the possibility of using the human declarative memory as a model to address several key topics of the reconsolidation hypothesis.

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