Altered Human Memory Modification in the Presence of Normal Consolidation

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Abstract

Following initial learning, the memory is stabilized by consolidation mechanisms, and subsequent modification of memory strength occurs via reconsolidation. Yet, it is not clear whether consolidation and memory modification are the same or different systems-level processes. Here, we report disrupted memory modification in the presence of normal consolidation of human motor memories, which relate to differences in lesioned brain structure after stroke. Furthermore, this behavioral dissociation was associated with macrostructural network architecture revealed by a graph-theoretical approach, and with white-matter microstructural integrity measured by diffusion-weighted MRI. Altered macrostructural network architecture and microstructural integrity of white-matter underlying critical nodes of the related network predicted disrupted memory modification. To the best of our knowledge, this provides the first evidence of mechanistic differences between consolidation, and subsequent memory modification through reconsolidation, in human procedural learning. These findings enable better understanding of these memory processes, which may guide interventional strategies to enhance brain function and resulting behavior.

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