Episodic memory reconsolidation: Updating or source confusion?

Almut Hupbach, Rebecca Gomez, Lynn Nadel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Reactivation of apparently stable, long-term memory can render it fragile, and dependent on a re-stabilisation process referred to as "reconsolidation". Recently we provided the first demonstration of reconsolidation effects in human episodic memory (Hupbach, Gomez, Hardt, & Nadel, 2007; Hupbach, Hardt, Gomez, & Nadel, 2008). Memory for a set of objects was modified by the presentation of a new set, if and only if participants were reminded of the first learning episode before learning the new set. The present study asks whether this effect can be interpreted as a source discrimination problem; i.e., participants have difficulties remembering which objects were presented during which session, and do not actually incorporate new objects into the reactivated memory. The present study used a recognition test and asked participants directly about the source of their memories. Participants in the no-reminder group showed very few source errors. Participants in the reminder group misattributed the source of objects from the second set as being from the first set but not vice versa, thus demonstrating updating of the original memory. This finding is informative with respect to the misinformation paradigm, and reconsolidation is discussed as a possible mechanism underlying our results and the misinformation effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-510
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009


  • Memory reconsolidation
  • Misinformation effect
  • Recognition
  • Source memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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