Sleep supports selective retention of associative memories based on relevance for future utilization

van Dongen, Eelco V, Thielen, Jan-Willem, Takashima, Atsuko, Barth, Markus and Fernandez, Guillen (2012) Sleep supports selective retention of associative memories based on relevance for future utilization. PLoS ONE, 7 8: e43426.1-e43426.6. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043426

Author van Dongen, Eelco V
Thielen, Jan-Willem
Takashima, Atsuko
Barth, Markus
Fernandez, Guillen
Title Sleep supports selective retention of associative memories based on relevance for future utilization
Journal name PLoS ONE   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2012-08-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0043426
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 7
Issue 8
Start page e43426.1
End page e43426.6
Total pages 6
Place of publication San Francisco United States
Publisher Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Language eng
Abstract An outstanding question is whether memory consolidation occurs passively or involves active processes that selectively stabilize memories based on future utility. Here, we differentially modulated the expected future relevance of two sets of picture-location associations after learning. Participants first studied two sets of picture-location associations. After a baseline memory test, they were instructed that only one set of associations would be retested after a 14-hour delay. For half of the participants, this test-retest delay contained a night of sleep; for the other half the delay included a normal working day. At retest, participants were re-instructed and against their expectations tested on both sets of associations. Our results show that post-learning instruction about subsequent relevance selectively improves memory retention for specific associative memories. This effect was sleep-dependent; it was present only in the group of subjects for which the test-retest delay contained sleep. Moreover, time spent asleep for participants in this sleep group correlated with retention of relevant but not irrelevant associations; participants who slept longer forgot fewer associations from the relevant category. In contrast, participants that did not sleep forgot more relevant than irrelevant associations across the test-retest delay. In summary, our results indicate that it is possible to modulate the retention of selected memories after learning with simple verbal instructions on their future relevance. The finding that this effect depends on sleep demonstrates this state's active role in memory consolidation and may have utility for educational settings.
Keyword Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID 400-06-110
2010-AdG 268800 - Neuroschema
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Centre for Advanced Imaging Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 38 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 42 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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