DOI: 10.1101/458687Oct 31, 2018Paper

Testing the fast consolidation hypothesis of retrieval-mediated learning

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Catarina S FerreiraMaria Wimber


The testing-effect, or retrieval-mediated learning, is one of the most robust effects in memory research. It shows that actively and repeatedly retrieving information, compared to merely restudying it, improves long-term retention. Surprisingly, little is known about the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. Attempting to fill this gap, a recent framework proposed that retrieval acts as a fast memory consolidation mechanism, stabilizing memories through online reactivation, similar to memory replay during offline (e.g. sleep) consolidation. In this fMRI study, we empirically tested the predictions derived from this framework. We predicted that reactivation during retrieval allows memories to become embedded in neocortex, creating an additional route to access the memory trace and rendering it less hippocampus-dependent. Participants encoded scene-object pairs and either retrieved or restudied the objects over two sessions, two days apart. We analysed univariate and multivariate changes in brain activity specific to retrieval but not restudy, and tested whether the predicted changes occur rapidly within a session, or evolve slowly, across the two days. Results showed that medial prefrontal cortex activation incre...Continue Reading

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