During sleep, the hippocampus plays an active role in consolidating memories that depend on it for initial encoding. There are hints in the literature that the hippocampus may have a broader influence, contributing to the consolidation of memories that may not initially require the area. We tested this possibility by evaluating learning and consolidation of the motor sequence task (MST) in hippocampal amnesics and demographically matched control participants. While the groups showed similar initial learning, only controls exhibited evidence of overnight consolidation. These results demonstrate that the hippocampus can be required for normal consolidation of a task without being required for its acquisition, suggesting that the area plays a broader role in coordinating memory consolidation than has previously been assumed.
Keywords: amnesics; memory; motor sequence learning; offline consolidation; sleep.
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