Modulation of Learning and Memory: A Shared Framework for Interference and Generalization

Jasmine Herszage, Nitzan Censor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The human brain is known by its ability to modify and update existing memories, mediated by underlying neuronal plasticity. This ability is facilitated by two main phenomena, interference and generalization. Interference occurs when a new memory harms, or is being harmed by, a different memory that was acquired in temporal proximity to it. Generalization on the other hand, refers to the case in which a learned memory is expanded beyond its specific properties. While each of these two phenomena may be well known separately, we review recent evidence primarily in perceptual and motor skill memory, spanning synaptic, neural systems-level, and behavioral research, suggesting that although the outcomes are different, the underlying neural and behavioral processes responsible for their inducements share numerous commonalities. The reviewed literature may imply a common mechanism underlying these two phenomena, and suggests a unified framework of memory and learning in the human brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-280
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 10 Nov 2018


FundersFunder number
Iowa Science Foundation
Israel Science Foundation51/11, 526/17
Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education of Israel


    • generalization
    • interference
    • memory
    • motor learning
    • perceptual learning
    • plasticity
    • skill learning


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