Behavioral Disruption of Memory Reconsolidation: From Bench to Bedside and Back Again

Drexler 2018

Shira Meir Drexler and Oliver T. Wolf

During the postretrieval reconsolidation “window”, memories can be disrupted, strengthened, or updated using various pharmacological and behavioral manipulations. Behavioral manipulations are more ecologically valid, thus allowing better understating of memory modification under natural conditions, but they can also be less potent compared to pharmacological interventions. In this review we present the current human and animal literature, aiming to understand the modulatory factors (i.e., task relevance, complexity, intensity) that promote reconsolidation disruption in purely behavioral means. The reviewed studies have suggested that both very simple tasks and more complex learning paradigms can be used to disrupt or update memory reconsolidation, even of stronger emotional memories. Stress exposure is a possible interference task, yet the conflicting results leave many open questions regarding its required timing and intensity. Going from bench to bedside and back again, we point to the need for more research in clinical populations to establish the therapeutic potential of reconsolidation-based treatments. Several findings from outside the laboratory offer promising leads for future research.