Research Highlight: Formation and suppression of acoustic memories during human sleep

Listeners may learn novel sensory informations during sleep but the question of how sleep stages and their associated rhythms modulate environmental learning remains unanswered. ENP team leader Sid Kouider and his coll. now demonstrate that the formation and suppression of new memories can take place during sleep.

Human listeners were tested in a whole night sleep and instructed to discriminate between N trials made of running white noise and RN (for shorter testing) or RefRN (for long term memories) trials that contained a repeated pattern. Vigilance states were wake, NREM (no-Rapid Eye Movements) and REM sleep. Perceptual behaviour to acoustic learning were recorded upon awakening and electrophysiological indexes were extracted during sleep. Results show successive episodes of acoustic memories facilitation linked to stages of sleep spindles in light NREM and of slow waves during the tonic episodes of REM caracterized by Rapid Eye movements and memories suppression linked to slow waves in deep NREM sleep. How this intertwined plastic behaviour is universal to other forms of memories is to be investigated.

Check out the article: 

Formation and suppression of acoustic memories during human sleep.

Andrillon T, Pressnitzer D, Léger D, Kouider S.

Nat Commun. 2017 Aug 8;8(1):179. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00071-z.


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