SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Treanor, M., Brown, L. A., Rissman, J., & Craske, M. G. (2017). Can memories of traumatic experiences or addiction be erased or modified? A critical review of research on the disruption of memory reconsolidation and its applicationsPerspectives on Psychological Science, 12(2), 290-305.
doi: 10.1177/1745691616664725.

Abstract: Recent research suggests that the mere act of retrieving a memory can temporarily make that memory vulnerable to disruption. This process of “reconsolidation” will typically restabilize the neural representation of the memory and foster its long-term storage. However, the process of reconsolidating the memory takes time to complete, and during this limited time window, the original memory may be modified either by the presentation of new information or with pharmacological agents. Such findings have prompted rising interest in using disruption during reconsolidation as a clinical intervention for anxiety, posttraumatic stress, and substance use disorders. However, “boundary conditions” on memory reconsolidation may pose significant obstacles to clinical translation. The aim of this article is to critically examine the nature of these boundary conditions, their neurobiological substrates, and the potential effect they may have on disruption of reconsolidation as a clinical intervention. These boundary conditions also highlight potential constraints on the reconsolidation phenomenon and suggest a limited role for memory updating consistent with evolutionary accounts of associative learning for threat and reward. We conclude with suggestions for future research needed to elucidate the precise conditions under which reconsolidation disruption may be clinically useful.

Journal Article 2: Simons, D. J., Boot, W. R., Charness, N., Gathercole, S. E., Chabris, C. F. Hambrick, D. Z., & Stine-Morrow, E. A. L. (2016). Do “brain-training” programs work? Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 17(3), 103-186.
doi: 10.1177/1529100616661983.

Abstract: In 2014, two groups of scientists published open letters on the efficacy of brain-training interventions, or “brain games,” for improving cognition. The first letter, a consensus statement from an international group of more than 70 scientists, claimed that brain games do not provide a scientifically grounded way to improve cognitive functioning or to stave off cognitive decline. Several months later, an international group of 133 scientists and practitioners countered that the literature is replete with demonstrations of the benefits of brain training for a wide variety of cognitive and everyday activities. How could two teams of scientists examine the same literature and come to conflicting “consensus” views about the effectiveness of brain training? In part, the disagreement might result from different standards used when evaluating the evidence. To date, the field has lacked a comprehensive review of the brain-training literature, one that examines both the quantity and the quality of the evidence according to a well-defined set of best practices. This article provides such a review, focusing exclusively on the use of cognitive tasks or games as a means to enhance performance on other tasks. We specify and justify a set of best practices for such brain-training interventions and then use those standards to evaluate all of the published peer-reviewed intervention studies cited on the websites of leading brain-training companies listed on Cognitive Training Data (, the site hosting the open letter from brain-training proponents. These citations presumably represent the evidence that best supports the claims of effectiveness. Based on this examination, we find extensive evidence that brain-training interventions improve performance on the trained tasks, less evidence that such interventions improve performance on closely related tasks, and little evidence that training enhances performance on distantly related tasks or that training improves everyday cognitive performance. We also find that many of the published intervention studies had major shortcomings in design or analysis that preclude definitive conclusions about the efficacy of training, and that none of the cited studies conformed to all of the best practices we identify as essential to drawing clear conclusions about the benefits of brain training for everyday activities. We conclude with detailed recommendations for scientists, funding agencies, and policymakers that, if adopted, would lead to better evidence regarding the efficacy of brain-training interventions.

Journal Article 3: Gibon, J.,& Barker, P. A. (in press). Neurotrophins and proneurotrophins: Focus on synaptic activity and plasticity in the brainNeuroscientist.
doi: 10.1177/1073858417697037.

Abstract: Neurotrophins have been intensively studied and have multiple roles in the brain. Neurotrophins are first synthetizedas proneurotrophins and then cleaved intracellularly and extracellularly. Increasing evidences demonstrate thatproneurotrophins and mature neurotrophins exerts opposing role in the central nervous system. In the presentreview, we explore the role of nerve growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin 3(NT3), and neurotrophin 4 (NT4) and their respective proform in cellular processes related to learning and memory.We focused on their roles in synaptic activity and plasticity in the brain with an emphasis on long-term potentiation,long-term depression, and basal synaptic transmission in the hippocampus and the temporal lobe area. We also discussnew findings on the role of the Val66Met polymorphism on the BDNF propeptide on synaptic activity.

Journal Article 4: Morcom, A. M. (2016). Mind over memory: Cuing the aging brain. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25(3), 143-150.
doi: 10.1177/0963721416645536.

Abstract: A decline in recollection is a hallmark of even healthy aging and is associated with wider impairments in mental control. Older adults have difficulty internally directing thought and action in line with their goals, and often rely more on external cues. To assess the impact this has on memory, emerging brain-imaging and behavioral approaches investigate the operation and effectiveness of goal-directed control before information is retrieved. Current data point to effects of aging at more than one stage in this process, particularly in the face of competing goals. These effects may reflect wider changes in the proactive, self-initiated regulation of thought and action. Understanding them is essential for establishing whether internal “self-cuing” of memory can be improved, and whether – and when – it is best to use environmental support from external cues to maximize memory performance.