Susceptibility of consolidated procedural memory to interference is independent of its active task-based retrieval

Ella Gabitov, Arnaud Boutin, Basile Pinsard, Nitzan Censor, Stuart M. Fogel, Geneviève Albouy, Bradley R. King, Julie Carrier, Leonardo G. Cohen, Avi Karni, Julien Doyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reconsolidation theory posits that upon retrieval, consolidated memories are destabilized and need to be restabilized in order to persist. It has been suggested that experience with a competitive task immediately after memory retrieval may interrupt these restabilization processes leading to memory loss. Indeed, using a motor sequence learning paradigm, we have recently shown that, in humans, interference training immediately after active task-based retrieval of the consolidated motor sequence knowledge may negatively affect its performance levels. Assessing changes in tapping pattern before and after interference training, we also demonstrated that this performance deficit more likely indicates a genuine memory loss rather than an initial failure of memory retrieval. Here, applying a similar approach, we tested the necessity of the hypothetical retrieval-induced destabilization of motor memory to allow its impairment. The impact of memory retrieval on performance of a new motor sequence knowledge acquired during the interference training was also evaluated. Similar to the immediate post-retrieval interference, interference training alone without the preceding active task-based memory retrieval was also associated with impairment of the pre-established motor sequence memory. Performance levels of the sequence trained during the interference training, on the other hand, were impaired only if this training was given immediately after memory retrieval. Noteworthy, an 8-hour interval between memory retrieval and interference allowed to express intact performance levels for both sequences. The current results suggest that susceptibility of the consolidated motor memory to behavioral interference is independent of its active task-based retrieval. Differential effects of memory retrieval on performance levels of the new motor sequence encoded during the interference training further suggests that memory retrieval may influence the way new information is stored by facilitating its integration within the retrieved memory trace. Thus, impairment of the pre-established motor memory may reflect interference from a competing memory trace rather than involve interruption of reconsolidation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0210876
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Gabitov et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Susceptibility of consolidated procedural memory to interference is independent of its active task-based retrieval'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this