Decay, interference and retrieval error have been identified as the major causes of forgetting of long-term memory at least since the Renaissance. Despite this long history of thought, very little is known about how the brain actually forgets, and the mapping of postulated forgetting mechanisms onto corresponding neurobiological processes remains uncertain. In fact, forgetting is often seen as a consequence of faulty memory encoding, formation, or retrieval, but not as another well-organised constitutive memory process. Here, data will be presented that identify components of a biologically active decay process. This process, which is mechanistically different from interference, removes fully established long-term memories in the hippocampus over time. Active decay conveys functional significance for memory, and may be involved in memory generalisation and other mnemonic phenomena. The data that will be presented form the basis of active decay theory, which (a) proposes that constitutive forgetting processes arise as a consequence of promiscuous encoding, and (b) suggests that reducing interference in sensory processing areas is one of the core functions of the hippocampus.
|Date||18 March 2014|
|Time||16:00 - 17:00|