Retrieval as a Fast Route to Memory Consolidation

Trends Cogn Sci. 2017 Aug;21(8):573-576. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2017.05.001. Epub 2017 Jun 2.


Retrieval-mediated learning is a powerful way to make memories last, but its neurocognitive mechanisms remain unclear. We propose that retrieval acts as a rapid consolidation event, supporting the creation of adaptive hippocampal-neocortical representations via the 'online' reactivation of associative information. We describe parallels between online retrieval and offline consolidation and offer testable predictions for future research.

Keywords: consolidation; episodic memory; long-term memory; reactivation; replay; retrieval-mediated learning; sleep; testing effect.

MeSH terms

  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Memory Consolidation*
  • Sleep