Predictions transform memories: How expected versus unexpected events are integrated or separated in memory

Oded Bein*, Camille Gasser, Tarek Amer, Anat Maril, Lila Davachi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Our brains constantly generate predictions about the environment based on prior knowledge. Many of the events we experience are consistent with these predictions, while others might be inconsistent with prior knowledge and thus violate our predictions. To guide future behavior, the memory system must be able to strengthen, transform, or add to existing knowledge based on the accuracy of our predictions. We synthesize recent evidence suggesting that when an event is consistent with our predictions, it leads to neural integration between related memories, which is associated with enhanced associative memory, as well as memory biases. Prediction errors, in turn, can promote both neural integration and separation, and lead to multiple mnemonic outcomes. We review these findings and how they interact with factors such as memory reactivation, prediction error strength, and task goals, to offer insight into what determines memory for events that violate our predictions. In doing so, this review brings together recent neural and behavioral research to advance our understanding of how predictions shape memory, and why.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number105368
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Integration
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Prediction
  • Prediction error
  • Prior knowledge
  • Schema
  • Separation


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