Memory integration constructs maps of space, time, and concepts

Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2017 Oct;17:161-168. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2017.08.007.


Recent evidence demonstrates that new events are learned in the context of their relationships to existing memories. Within the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex, related memories are represented by integrated codes that connect events experienced at different times and places. Integrated codes form the basis of spatial, temporal, and conceptual maps of experience. These maps represent information that goes beyond direct experience and support generalization behaviors that require knowledge be used in new ways. The degree to which an individual memory is integrated into a coherent map is determined by its spatial, temporal, and conceptual proximity to existing knowledge. Integration is observed over a wide range of scales, suggesting that memories contain information about both broad and fine-grained contexts.