Commentary on attempted replication of human reconsolidation effects

We recently reported an attempt to replicate (Hardwicke et al., 2016) a previous demonstration of reconsolidation-mediated memory updating in human participants (Walker & Stickgold, 2003). The authors of the original study have written a commentary on the paper (Walker & Stickgold, 2016) and we have responded (Hardwicke & Shanks, 2016). The discussion focuses on whether our non-replications established ‘boundary conditions’ on the memory reconsolidation theory. Although there was little space to fully develop the arguments, the discussion touches on some interesting philosophical issues about how replications relate to theory. I’d be very interested to hear people’s thoughts!

References

Hardwicke, T. E., Mahdi, T., & Shanks, D. R. (2016). Post-retrieval new learning does not reliably induce human memory updating via reconsolidation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113, 5206-5211. [doi] [osf] [pdf]

Walker, M. P., & Stickgold, R. (2016). Understanding the boundary conditions of memory reconsolidation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113, 1-2. [doi] [pdf]

Hardwicke, T. E., & Shanks, D. R. (2016). Reply to Walker and Stickgold: Proposed boundary conditions on memory reconsolidation will require empirical verification. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113, 1-2. [doi] [pdf]