Synaptic depression : a cellular substrate of adaptive forgetting
Although memory has been the predominant focus of cognitive neuroscience for the past fifty years, many authors throughout history have been interested in forgetting and have discussed the adaptive and beneficial nature of this process. With this presentation, we review evidence suggesting that forgetting is useful when previously stored past information interferes with the storage and recall of newer information. Adaptive forgetting is the process by which such information is erased or set aside in order not to interfere with this recall. Such phenomenon allows a more optimal processing of information in short-term forms of memory (working memory) as well as in long-term semantic memory, when forgetting of episodic contextual elements of discrete memories is required to extract a common rule from many different experiences. Converging results suggest that long-term synaptic depression, in particular in limbic brain areas known to be involved in memory processes, could underlie adaptive forgetting.