Hippocampal contributions to declarative memory consolidation during sleep

James W. Antony, Ken A. Paller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

15 Scopus citations


The human brain faces a fundamental information storage challenge— forming useful new memories while not over-writing important old ones. Memory consolidation, and the corresponding interplay between the hippocampus and neocortex, is a protracted process to adjudicate between these two competing factors. Converging evidence from behavioral, cellular, and systems neuroscience strongly implicates a special role for sleep in stabilizing new declarative memories. In this chapter, we review evidence that during sleep the reactivation of newly acquired neuronal traces has lasting implications for memory transformation and stabilization. We first summarize relevant theoretical issues in memory research and then outline the physiological properties of sleep that may allow for this reactivation. We consider many factors that affect spontaneous memory reactivation, and we highlight research showing that memories can be selectively targeted and modified using learning-related stimuli. Ultimately, the ability to rescue otherwise fleeting episodes from oblivion plays a vital role in human life. Research elucidating this ability will also be critical for understanding how memory breaks down in aging and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Hippocampus from Cells to Systems
Subtitle of host publicationStructure, Connectivity, and Functional Contributions to Memory and Flexible Cognition
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9783319504063
ISBN (Print)9783319504056
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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