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Retrieval-extinction within the memory reconsolidation window does not influence appetitive choice

By Akram Bakkour, Tom Schonberg, Ashleigh M Hover, Russell A. Poldrack

Posted 24 Jan 2015
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/014316

Influencing choice behavior is key to achieving behavioral change. Traditional means to influence choice behavior rely on effortful self control, which is known to be fragile under several circumstances, rendering these methods ineffectual in maintaining any change in behavior over time. Behavioral maintenance efforts are likely more effective over the long term if they target more automatic processes such as attention or memory. Memories are not set in stone and are vulnerable to change and updating under certain circumstances when retrieved. It is possible to target specific memories for updating. In two studies, we sought to update the memory for an appetitive choice by way of reversal learning following retrieval of the targeted choice behavior. We found that targeting memories of a choice behavior for updating shortly after a reminder did not significantly attenuate the renewal of the targeted choice under extinction conditions. Possible explanations and suggested future directions are discussed.

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