Reward retroactively enhances memory consolidation for related items

Learn Mem. 2016 Dec 15;24(1):65-69. doi: 10.1101/lm.042978.116. Print 2017 Jan.


Reward motivation has been shown to modulate episodic memory processes in order to support future adaptive behavior. However, for a memory system to be truly adaptive, it should enhance memory for rewarded events as well as for neutral events that may seem inconsequential at the time of encoding but can gain importance later. Here, we investigated the influence of reward motivation on retroactive memory enhancement selectively for conceptually related information. We found behavioral evidence that reward retroactively enhances memory at a 24-h memory test, but not at an immediate memory test, suggesting a role for post-encoding mechanisms of consolidation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Consolidation / physiology*
  • Memory, Episodic*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Reward*
  • Young Adult