Memory integration: neural mechanisms and implications for behavior

Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2015 Feb;1:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2014.07.005.


Everyday behaviors require a high degree of flexibility, in which prior knowledge is applied to inform behavior in new situations. Such flexibility is thought to be supported in part by memory integration, a process whereby related memories become interconnected in the brain through recruitment of overlapping neuronal populations. Recent advances in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience highlight the importance of a hippocampal-medial prefrontal circuit in memory integration. Emerging evidence suggests that abstracted representations in medial prefrontal cortex guide reactivation of related memories during new encoding events, thus promoting hippocampal integration of related experiences. Moreover, recent work indicates that integrated memories are called upon during novel situations to facilitate a host of behaviors, from spatial navigation to imagination.