The neurobiological bases of memory formation: from physiological conditions to psychopathology

Psychopathology. 2014;47(6):347-56. doi: 10.1159/000363702. Epub 2014 Oct 3.


The formation of long-term memories is a function necessary for an adaptive survival. In the last two decades, great progress has been made in the understanding of the biological bases of memory formation. The identification of mechanisms necessary for memory consolidation and reconsolidation, the processes by which the posttraining and postretrieval fragile memory traces become stronger and insensitive to disruption, has indicated new approaches for investigating and treating psychopathologies. In this review, we will discuss some key biological mechanisms found to be critical for memory consolidation and strengthening, the role/s and mechanisms of memory reconsolidation, and how the interference with consolidation and/or reconsolidation can modulate the retention and/or storage of memories that are linked to psychopathologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Psychopathology