ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (8): 1417-1426.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2019.01417

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Modulating maladaptive human memory: Evidence from reconsolidation

LIU Peng1,2, SHEN Hongkui3   

  1. 1 Department of Psychology, Institute of Education Sciences, Shanxi Normal University, Linfen 041000, China
    2 Institute of Education, Modern College of Humanities and Sciences of Shanxi Normal University, Linfen 041000, China
    3 Shanxi Normal University Network Information Center, Linfen 041000, China
  • Received:2018-07-03 Online:2019-07-26 Published:2019-06-25


Stable memories may re-enter an unstable state when they are retrieved. Upon retrieval, a consolidated memory can be updated, strengthened, weakened, or even erased. This process is known as reconsolidation. Thus, reconsolidation interventions provide an opportunity to modify seemingly stable memories. Studies on the reconsolidation of maladaptive human memory emphasize the role of propranolol and behavioral intervention therapies in fear and episodic memory reconsolidation. Multiple cortical brain regions and neural circuits are involved in the reconsolidation of human fear and episodic memory. These include the amygdala, hippocampus, ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), prefrontal cortex (PFC), the amygdale-vmPFC network, and the hippocampus-PFC network. Existing memories can be modified during reconsolidation by various interventions, such as drug treatment, behavioral therapy, or noninvasive brain stimulation. This introduces the possibility of using these strategies to treat memory disorders. However, there is a significant gap between the relevant basic research and the clinical application due to the complexity of pathologic memory formation. Therefore, additional experimental paradigms that more closely resemble clinical situations are required. Furthermore, the precise boundary conditions for reconsolidation disruption should be elucidated in a future study, as this will promote the clinical application of laboratory research.

Key words: maladaptive human memory, reconsolidation, clinical intervention, boundary conditions.

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