Falling asleep to remember faces and names
“It’s a new and exciting discovery about sleep because it tells us that how information is reactivated during sleep to improve memory storage is associated with high-quality sleep.” , said Nathan Whitmore, a doctoral candidate in the interdisciplinary neuroscience program at Northwestern. .
The paper’s lead author is Ken Paller, a professor of psychology and director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Program at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern. The paper was also co-authored by Adrianna Bassard, a doctoral candidate in psychology at Northwestern.
The team found that for study participants with EEG measurements (which record electrical activity of the brain picked up by electrodes on the scalp) that showed disrupted sleep, the Memory reactivation does not help and may even be detrimental. But in those who had uninterrupted sleep during specific periods of audio presentations, reactivation led to a relative improvement with an average of just over 1.5 names recalled.
The study was conducted on 24 participants, aged 18-31, who were asked to memorize the faces and names of 40 students from a hypothetical Latin American history class and another 40 students from a history class. Japan. As each face was shown again, they were asked to come up with a name to go with it. After the learning exercise, the participants took a nap while the researchers carefully monitored brain activity with EEG measurements. When the participants reached the N3 “deep sleep” state, some names were played softly over the loudspeakers with music related to one of the classes.
When the participants woke up, they were tested again for their ability to recognize faces and recall each face’s name.
The finding of a relationship between sleep disruption and memory accuracy is remarkable for a number of reasons, the researchers say.
“We already know that some sleep disorders like apnea can impair memory,” says Whitmore. “Our study suggests a potential explanation for this? frequent sleep disruptions at night can impair memory.”
The lab is in the process of further research to reactivate memories and intentionally disrupt sleep to learn more about the brain’s related mechanisms.
“This new line of research will allow us to address many interesting questions such as whether disrupted sleep is always harmful or not,” said Paller, who also holds the James Padilla Chair of Arts & Sciences at Northwestern. it can be used to weaken unwanted memories”. “Anyway, we’re increasingly finding good reasons to value high-quality sleep.”