Slow wave sleep and recollection in recognition memory

Consciousness and Cognition 16 (2):445-455 (2007)
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Recognition memory performance reflects two distinct memory processes: a conscious process of recollection, which allows remembering specific details of a previous event, and familiarity, which emerges in the absence of any conscious information about the context in which the event occurred. Slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep are differentially involved in the consolidation of different types of memory. The study assessed the effects of SWS and REM sleep on recollection, by means of the “remember”/”know” paradigm. Subjects studied three blocks of 12 words before a 3-h retention interval filled with SWS, REM sleep or wakefulness, placed between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Afterwards, recognition and recollection were tested. Recollection was higher after a retention interval rich in SWS than after a retention interval rich in REM sleep or filled with wakefulness. The results suggest that SWS facilitates the process of recollection in recognition memory



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