Promoting subjective preferences in simple economic choices during nap

Elife. 2018 Dec 6:7:e40583. doi: 10.7554/eLife.40583.


Sleep is known to benefit consolidation of memories, especially those of motivational relevance. Yet, it remains largely unknown the extent to which sleep influences reward-associated behavior, in particular, whether and how sleep modulates reward evaluation that critically underlies value-based decisions. Here, we show that neural processing during sleep can selectively bias preferences in simple economic choices when the sleeper is stimulated by covert, reward-associated cues. Specifically, presenting the spoken name of a familiar, valued snack item during midday nap significantly improves the preference for that item relative to items not externally cued. The cueing-specific preference enhancement is sleep-dependent and can be predicted by cue-induced neurophysiological signals at the subject and item level. Computational modeling further suggests that sleep cueing accelerates evidence accumulation for cued options during the post-sleep choice process in a manner consistent with the preference shift. These findings suggest that neurocognitive processing during sleep contributes to the fine-tuning of subjective preferences in a flexible, selective manner.

Keywords: decision-making; human; neuroscience; simple economic choices; sleep; subjective preferences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Choice Behavior / physiology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Decision Making / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Motivation / physiology*
  • Neurophysiology / trends
  • Sleep / physiology*

Grants and funding

The funders had no role in study design, data collection, and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.