What is it about?

Newly formed memories need to undergo a protracted process of stabilization called “consolidation”, which involves the reorganization of brain circuits over time to maintain the memories long-term. However, over a lifetime, most new memories are built based on past experiences. The extent to which prior experiences influence the formation of new memories is not well understood. Here we found that a previously learned similar event no longer required this process of brain circuit reorganization for the formation of new memories. Instead, these new memories are encoded immediately within the brain sites that store memories for a long time.

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Why is it important?

This study provides new insights on how a past fearful event can affect the creation of future memories and points to new ways of thinking about memory consolidation process. In particular, our findings challenge the notion that new memories must go through an extended period of brain circuit reorganization to be stored permanently.


Exploring the neural networks that store emotional memories and understanding how past experiences affect these networks is a topic of significant interest due to its clinical, psychological, and philosophical implications.

Dept. Neuroscience, University of Turin, Italy

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This page is a summary of: Prior fear learning enables the rapid assimilation of new fear memories directly into cortical networks, PLoS Biology, September 2022, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001789.
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