The extinction of learned associations has traditionally been considered to involve new learning, which competes with the original memory for control over behavior. However, a recent resurgence of interest in reactivation-dependent amnesia has revealed that the retrieval of fear-related memory (with what is essentially a brief extinction session) can result in its destabilization. This review discusses some of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that are involved in the destabilization of a memory following its reactivation and/or extinction, and investigates the evidence that extinction may involve both new learning as well as a partial destabilization-induced erasure of the original memory trace.
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Flavell, C. R., Lambert, E. A., Winters, B. D., & Bredy, T. W. (2013). Mechanisms governing the reactivation-dependent destabilization of memories and their role in extinction. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 7, . https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00214