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Multicenter Study
. 2009 Oct;49(21):2557-65.
doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2009.04.011. Epub 2009 Apr 18.

Sleep and Rest Facilitate Implicit Memory in a Visual Search Task

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Free PMC article
Multicenter Study

Sleep and Rest Facilitate Implicit Memory in a Visual Search Task

S C Mednick et al. Vision Res. .
Free PMC article

Erratum in

  • Vision Res. 2010 Jun 18;50(13):1299

Abstract

Several forms of learning have been demonstrated to show improvements with sleep. Based on rodent models, it has been suggested that replay of waking events in the hippocampus during sleep may underlie memory consolidation in humans. However, behavioral data for the role of sleep in human hippocampal-related memory have been inconsistent. To further investigate the role of sleep in hippocampal-mediated learning, we tested subjects in two sessions of a contextual cueing paradigm, a form of hippocampus-dependent implicit learning, separated by intervals of sleep, active wake, or carefully controlled quiet rest. Participants completed a visual search task, and unbeknownst to them, some search displays were occasionally repeated in the experiment. Contextual cueing was revealed by faster search speed on repeated trials (Old) than unrepeated ones (New), even though subjects were unaware of the trial repetition. Notably, performance in a second testing session was equivalent for participants who underwent quiet resting, daytime sleep, or nocturnal sleep between the two sessions. These four groups showed equivalent transfer of learning from Session 1. Notably, learning of New configurations in Session 2 was absent in the active wake group, but was equally strong among the other three groups. These results indicate that this form of hippocampal learning is independent of sleep, and vulnerable to proactive interference during active wake. They prompt a reevaluation of the hippocampal replay hypothesis as a general model of sleep-dependent learning.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Schematic illustration of trial conditions (not to scale). Trial conditions were intermixed within a block. Note that the old configurations were identical across session 1 (left) and session 2 (right).
Figure 2
Figure 2
Mean accuracy of the rest, nap and active wake groups in the different sessions and experimental conditions. Error bars show standard error of the mean.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Visual search RT as a function of epoch (session 1: epochs 1-5, session 2: epochs 6-10) and experimental condition for the nap, rest and active wake groups. Error bars show standard error of the mean.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Proportion of identifying displays as “old” as a function of display type and group. Error bars show standard error of the mean.
Figure 5
Figure 5
RT data from the nocturnal sleep group as a function of epoch (session 1: epochs 1-5, session 2: epochs 6-10) and experimental condition. Error bars show standard error of the mean.

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