6-7 Jun 2019 Lyon (France)

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The dynamic and flexible nature of memories

International meeting of the LabEx CORTEX

Meeting in June 6-7, 2019, Lyon, France

Lyon Beaux Arts Museum

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LabEx CORTEX combined multidisciplinary effort to understand the cortex and human cognition, based on systems level studies of networks and interactions at multiple scales, from neurons to individuals. This consortium is a center of excellence including different research laboratories.

The present international meeting aims to gather recognized memory specialists that, using behavioral and/or neuronal approaches, investigate the dynamic and flexible nature of episodic memories. Traditionally, memory has been seen as a storehouse into which discrete items of information are initially deposited and then later retrieved. Over the last decades, this view has been challenged and the idea of an adaptive memory, not stable but fundamentally dynamic, has gained some credence. There is by now striking evidence that episodic memory, defined as the memory of autobiographical specific experiences that occurred in a multidimensional context, is first processed and reinforced during consolidation and then updated, strengthened, or weakened through reconsolidation. During this meeting we will notably shed light upon multiple processes that can induce or act on these time-limited reconsolidation windows where existing memories are vulnerable to modifications.

Sleep is known to support memory consolidation, protect memories from interference and reorganize memory traces. A part of the conferences will be dedicated to understanding the functional role of sleep for memory formation, modification after reactivation, and the neuronal mechanisms underlying these processes will be described. In addition, by mediating memory updating, we will see how reconsolidation processes can allow adaptive forgetting to shape the mnemonic trace over time. A second series of conferences will focus on how retrieval processes can provide an opportunity to distort memories that can reflect adaptive cognitive processes that contribute to the efficient functioning of memory but can also be pathological when it looks like recollective confabulation, as 'déjà vécu” phenomenon or spontaneous confabulation. Indeed, memories can be reactivated without specific intention, something problematic in the context of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or dementia. Because, memory is intrinsically connected to emotion, as it reinforces past and future memories, the memories we would prefer to forget can be reactivated. Finally, this dynamic memory conception will also be considered with a lifespan perspective. The plastic nature of episodic memories is indeed crucial for their construction and modification across ages, from their developments in children to their evolution with normal ageing.

 

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