Off-line replay maintains declarative memories in a model of hippocampal-neocortical interactions

Szabolcs Káli, Peter Dayan
Nature Neuroscience 2004, 7 (3): 286-94
During sleep, neural activity in the hippocampus and neocortex seems to recapitulate aspects of its earlier, awake form. This replay may be a substrate for the consolidation of long-term declarative memories, whereby they become independent of the hippocampus and are stored in neocortex. In contrast to storage, other crucial facets of competent long-term memory, such as maintenance of access to stored traces and preservation of their correct interpretation, have received little attention. We investigate long-term episodic and semantic memory in a theoretical model of neocortical-hippocampal interaction. We find that, in the absence of regular hippocampal reactivation, even supposedly consolidated episodic memories are fragile in the face of cortical semantic plasticity. Replay allows access to episodes stored in the hippocampus to be maintained, by keeping them in appropriate register with changing neocortical representations. Hippocampal storage and replay also has a constructive role in the recall of structured, semantic information.

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