Memory traces of trace memories: neurogenesis, synaptogenesis and awareness

Trends Neurosci. 2004 May;27(5):250-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2004.03.007.


To associate events that are disparate in time, the brain must record, retain and perhaps even reflect on the individual events themselves. Aspects of such learning can be probed with trace conditioning, during which an animal learns to associate events that are temporally distant from one another. For decades, we have known that the formation of so-called trace memories (in which one stimulus is associated with a second stimulus that is discontinuous and later in time) depends on the hippocampal formation. Recent findings indicate that the hippocampus is crucial for the initial acquisition of trace memories but not for their expression or long-term storage. More recent findings implicate neurogenesis, synaptogenesis and awareness in the formation of trace memories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Association Learning / physiology*
  • Awareness / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Time Factors