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Patterns across multiple memories are identified over time

Nature Neuroscience volume 17, pages 981986 (2014) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Memories are not static but continue to be processed after encoding. This is thought to allow the integration of related episodes via the identification of patterns. Although this idea lies at the heart of contemporary theories of systems consolidation, it has yet to be demonstrated experimentally. Using a modified water-maze paradigm in which platforms are drawn stochastically from a spatial distribution, we found that mice were better at matching platform distributions 30 d compared to 1 d after training. Post-training time-dependent improvements in pattern matching were associated with increased sensitivity to new platforms that conflicted with the pattern. Increased sensitivity to pattern conflict was reduced by pharmacogenetic inhibition of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). These results indicate that pattern identification occurs over time, which can lead to conflicts between new information and existing knowledge that must be resolved, in part, by computations carried out in the mPFC.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to P.W.F. (MOP-77561), S.A.J. (MOP-74650) and M.A.W. (MOP-123466). B.A.R. received financial support from a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship via the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. B.A.R., F.X. and J.H. received financial support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Sleep and Biological Rhythms Training Program. A.S. received financial support from the Hospital for Sick Children. We thank G. Hinton and M. Moscovitch for comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Program in Neurosciences and Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    • Blake A Richards
    • , Frances Xia
    • , Adam Santoro
    • , Jana Husse
    • , Sheena A Josselyn
    •  & Paul W Frankland
  2. Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    • Blake A Richards
    • , Jana Husse
    • , Sheena A Josselyn
    •  & Paul W Frankland
  3. Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    • Blake A Richards
    • , Frances Xia
    • , Jana Husse
    • , Sheena A Josselyn
    •  & Paul W Frankland
  4. Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    • Blake A Richards
    • , Adam Santoro
    • , Jana Husse
    • , Sheena A Josselyn
    •  & Paul W Frankland
  5. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    • Blake A Richards
  6. Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    • Blake A Richards
    •  & Melanie A Woodin

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Contributions

B.A.R., S.A.J. and P.W.F. conceived and designed the experiments. B.A.R., F.X., A.S. and J.H. performed the behavioral experiments. B.A.R. and M.A.W. performed the patch clamp experiments. B.A.R. conducted the analyses. B.A.R., S.A.J. and P.W.F. wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul W Frankland.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.3736

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