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. 2019 Oct;47:39-50.
doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2019.05.004. Epub 2019 Jun 5.

Sleep and the Extraction of Hidden Regularities: A Systematic Review and the Importance of Temporal Rules

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Sleep and the Extraction of Hidden Regularities: A Systematic Review and the Importance of Temporal Rules

Itamar Lerner et al. Sleep Med Rev. .
Free PMC article


As part of its role in memory consolidation, sleep has been repeatedly identified as critical for the extraction of regularities from wake experiences. However, many null results have been published as well, with no clear consensus emerging regarding the conditions that yield this sleep effect. Here, we systematically review the role of sleep in the extraction of hidden regularities, specifically those involving associative relations embedded in newly learned information. We found that the specific behavioral task used in a study had far more impact on whether a sleep effect was discovered than either the category of the cognitive processes targeted, or the particular experimental design employed. One emerging pattern, however, was that the explicit detection of hidden rules is more likely to happen when the rules are of a temporal nature (i.e., event A at time t predicts a later event B) than when they are non-temporal. We discuss this temporal rule sensitivity in reference to the compressed memory replay occurring in the hippocampus during slow-wave-sleep, and compare this effect to what happens when the extraction of regularities depends on prior knowledge and relies on structures other than the hippocampus.

Keywords: Memory consolidation; NRT; REM; Regularities extraction; Rule learning; SRTT; SWS; Sleep.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest: The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationship that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. We are not aware of competing work in preparation, submission, or press.

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