The Effect of Slow-Wave Sleep on Explicit and Implicit Recall Memory Performance




Westphal, James K.

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One of the effects that sleep has a significant influence on is memory consolidation, or the process by which newly encoded memories are strengthened, reorganized, and integrated into long-term memory. Accumulating evidence from animal studies suggests that memory consolidation is linked to an accelerated replay of previous memories occurring in the hippocampus during Slow-Wave Sleep (SWS). A recent theory, Temporal Scaffolding, further suggests that this accelerated replay could help detect temporal patterns and regularities within sequential events that may not have been recognized when first encoded during wake. The theory also predicts that this replay may promote the false composition of two independent memories seen one after the other. By using a research paradigm that allows for the simultaneous analysis of explicit and implicit memory performance, the following proposal examined this idea. The results of the study are inconsistent with the a-priori predictions, and we did not find a SWS-dependent increase in false explicit memories. This likely occurred due to a design flaw, and so the results of this study cannot supply a definitive answer to the research question. Future studies will be needed to assess the breadth of the Temporal Scaffolding Hypothesis.


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Explicit recall memory, Implicit recall memory, Long-term memory, Slow-wave sleep, Explicit, Implicit, PDP, Recall, Sleep, SWS