Lecture 7: Consolidation & Storage
What you consciously experience is a RECONSTRUCTION of what happened.
After encoding, memory continues to change and evolve, dynamic & fragile changes are either
beneficial or deleterious.
During periods of consolidation memories become more permanent, but also alter in content.
It takes time for a memory to become enduring. There is a prolonged process of consolidation during
which memory is stored. Immediately after encoding memory is FRAGILE amnesia can be
induced, but this only occurs in a specific length of time. It takes a prolonged period for memory to
For neg. scenes:
As time progressed and the person was awake (during which the person engaged in various tasks),
ability to recognise/remember the scenes declined. BUT after sleep, scene recall IMPROVED.
Suggests that sleep is a significant stage during which memories are developed and strengthened.
Sleep: Memory building occurs after a while of encoding, esp. during sleep.
Only emotional info. is retained and consolidated in memory during sleep.
Sleep has no beneficial effect on remembering neutral objects.
The content of the memory changes after a full night’s sleep.
The Emotional info is what is more biologically important than the neutral info., thus the
brain selectively chooses to consolidate them during sleep.
Hypothesis: Memory retrieval involves an approx. reinstatement of the pattern of neural
activity that was originally experienced during encoding.
Donald Hebb: Neurons that fire sequentially wire together. Connections become amplified.
o If these neurons fire again, the image/object is retrieved regenerating the pattern
of neural activity that originally occurred during the initial stimulus-response.
NOTE: Just because the same pattern of neurons are reactivated, doesn’t mean the memory
is accurate/same as original happening!
o Pre-surgical mapping of cortex: Mapped brain before anything was cut out. Direct
electrical stimulation of the cortex while the patient was awake.
o If the electrical stimulation of a brain part caused the patient to perform a certain
function, then they avoided cutting out that part.
o Stimulation of certain brain parts caused the person to remember vivid memories.
Eg. Stimulation of visual cortex triggered a vivid, visual recollection. Auditor