The neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) plays a critical role in development and plasticity of the nervous system and is involved in the mechanisms of learning and memory. Here, we show that intracerebroventricular administration of the FG loop (FGL), a synthetic 15 amino acid peptide corresponding to the binding site of NCAM for the fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1), immediately after training rats in fear conditioning or water maze learning, induced a long-lasting improvement of memory. In primary cultures of hippocampal neurons, FGL enhanced the presynaptic function through activation of FGFR1 and promoted synapse formation. These results provide the first evidence for a memory-facilitating effect resulting from a treatment that mimics NCAM function. They suggest that increased efficacy of synaptic transmission and formation of new synapses probably mediate the cognition-enhancing properties displayed by the peptide.