Memory reactivation is an important process resulting from reexposure to salient training-related information whereby a memory is brought from an inactive to an active state. Reactivation is the first stage of memory retrieval but can result from the exposure to salient cues without any behavioral output. Such cue-induced reactivation, although frequently used by neuroscientists to study reconsolidation, has seldom been considered as a process in its own right and studied as such. This review presents arguments indicating that memory reactivation has two main consequences: (1) to enhance the accessibility of the target memory and (2) to make the memory malleable. Accordingly, reactivation creates a transient state during which the content of the memory is easily accessible and can be modified and/or updated. As both of these aspects can be observed shortly after memory reactivation, this review emphasizes that reconsolidation is not necessarily required for these processes and calls attention to reactivation as a factor in the dynamics of the memory.
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