1795 Domains of Learning and Memory that Are Enhanced with Sleep in Adults

Sunday, February 21, 2010: 9:10 AM
Room 2 (San Diego Convention Center)
Sara C. Mednick , University of California, San Diego, CA
Memory is not unified, instead there are different domains for learning how to ride a bike, memorize a phone number, or visually spot tumors in a radiological scan. These domains are behaviorally, anatomically and mechanistically distinct. In this talk, we will examine differences between these memory domains through the investigation of an underlying process that facilitate the formation of memory: sleep. We will show that: (1) select types of memory domains are facilitated during sleep, with implicit memory typically exhibiting an absolute improvement in performance and explicit memory typically exhibiting less forgetting; (2) specific sleep stages, (i.e. Stage Two, Rapid Eye Movement Sleep, and Slow Wave Sleep) are correlated with the consolidation of specific memory domains (i.e. motor, implicit memory, and explicit memory, respectively); (3) daytime naps are as effective as nocturnal sleep in these memory processes. By examining when sleep facilitates memory improvement, protects from waking interference, or has no effect on consolidation, we are able to make predictions about similarities and differences in mechanisms across these memory domains. These findings have direct impact on our ability to improve cognitive performance by scheduling naps with optimized doses of specific sleep stages.