The synaptic plasticity and memory hypothesis: encoding, storage and persistence

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


The synaptic plasticity and memory hypothesis asserts that activity-dependent synaptic plasticity is induced at appropriate synapses during memory formation and is both necessary and sufficient for the encoding and trace storage of the type of memory mediated by the brain area in which it is observed. Criteria for establishing the necessity and sufficiency of such plasticity in mediating trace storage have been identified and are here reviewed in relation to new work using some of the diverse techniques of contemporary neuroscience. Evidence derived using optical imaging, molecular-genetic and optogenetic techniques in conjunction with appropriate behavioural analyses continues to offer support for the idea that changing the strength of connections between neurons is one of the major mechanisms by which engrams are stored in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20130288
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1633
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2014


  • Dopamine
  • Humans
  • Memory
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Optogenetics
  • Synapses


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