Animal models suggest that consolidated memories return to their labile state when reactivated and need to be restabilized through reconsolidation processes to persist. Consistent with this notion, post-reactivation pharmacological protein synthesis blockage results in mnemonic failure in hippocampus-dependent memories. It has been proposed that, in humans, post-reactivation experience with a competitive task can also interfere with memory restabilization. However, several studies failed to induce performance deficit implementing this approach. Moreover, even upon effective post-reactivation interference, hindered performance may rapidly recover, raising the possibility of a retrieval rather than a storage deficit. Here, to address these issues in procedural memory domain, we used new learning to interfere with restabilization of motor memory acquired through training on a sequence of finger movements. Only immediate post-reactivation interference was associated with the loss of post-training delayed gains in performance, a hallmark of motor sequence memory consolidation. We also demonstrate that such performance deficit more likely indicates a genuine memory impairment rather than a retrieval failure. However, the reconsolidation view on a reactivation-induced plasticity is not supported. Instead, our results are in line with the integration model according to which new knowledge acquired during the interfering experience, is integrated through its consolidation creating memory competition.
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© 2017 The Author(s).
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