The case of Henry Molaison, formerly known as patient H.
M., became a landmark in studies of memory as it relates to amnesia and the removal of the hippocampal zone and sparked massive interest in the study of brain lesions and their effect on memory.
Memory consolidation was first referred to in the writings of the renowned Roman teacher of rhetoric Quintillian. that the interval of a single night will greatly increase the strength of the memory," and presented the possibility that "… undergoes a process of ripening and maturing during the time which intervenes." The process of consolidation was later proposed based on clinical data illustrated in 1882 by Ribot’s Law of Regression, "progressive destruction advances progressively from the unstable to the stable". Burnham a few years later in a paper on amnesia integrating findings from experimental psychology and neurology.
Coining of the term "consolidation" is credited to the German researchers Müller and Alfons Pilzecker who rediscovered the concept that memory takes time to fixate or undergo "Konsolidierung" in their studies conducted between 18.
Distributed learning has been found to enhance memory consolidation, specifically for relational memory.
Experimental results suggest that distributing learning over the course of 24 hours decreases the rate of forgetting compared to massed learning, and enhances relational memory consolidation.
Disruptions caused by specific drugs, antibodies and gross physical trauma can block the effects of synaptic consolidation.
and is known to produce increases in the neurotransmitter production and receptor sensitivity, lasting minutes to even days.
is one form of memory consolidation seen across all species and long-term memory tasks.
These studies were accompanied by the creation of animal models of human amnesia in an effort to identify brain substrates critical for slow consolidation.
Meanwhile, neuropharmacological studies of selected brain areas began to shed light on the molecules possibly responsible for fast consolidation.
When interpreted in the context of synaptic consolidation, mechanisms of synaptic strengthening may depend on the spacing of memory reactivation to allow sufficient time for protein synthesis to occur, and thereby strengthen long-term memory.
Protein synthesis plays an important role in the formation of new memories.
There is evidence to suggest that synaptic consolidation takes place within minutes to hours of memory encoding or learning, and as such is considered the ‘fast’ type of consolidation.