Over-expectation generated in a complex appetitive goal-tracking task is capable of inducing memory reconsolidation

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013 Apr;226(4):649-58. doi: 10.1007/s00213-012-2934-3. Epub 2012 Dec 13.


Rationale: Discrepancies in an expected outcome have been demonstrated to result in modification of behaviour in both appetitive and aversive conditioning settings.

Objectives: In this study, we sought to establish whether overexpectation generated from compound conditioning with two previously rewarded stimuli was able to induce memory destabilisation and subsequent reconsolidation in a Pavlovian conditioned approach setting.

Results: It was shown that 4 days, but not 1 day, of overexpectation training was required to induce memory reconsolidation, and this was disrupted by application of the NMDA subtype of glutamate receptor antagonist MK-801 prior to overexpectation training, but not by MK-801 application 6 h post-training.

Conclusions: These data provide evidence that the memories underlying Pavlovian conditioned approach do undergo reconsolidation and that such reconsolidation can be triggered by overexpectation. Therefore, the updating of appetitive conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus associations underpinning conditioned responding in manners other than extinction training is likely achieved through memory reconsolidation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetite / physiology
  • Conditioning, Classical / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Dizocilpine Maleate / administration & dosage
  • Dizocilpine Maleate / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Extinction, Psychological
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Reward*
  • Time Factors


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Dizocilpine Maleate