Sleep's role in the processing of unwanted memories.
Summary of "Sleep's role in the processing of unwanted memories."
Summary The concept of 'repression' dates back to Freud, assuming that undesirable memories can become suppressed and that dreams ease repression by permitting these memories to be reinstated. Here, we followed this idea adopting the 'directed forgetting' approach of experimental psychology. The voluntary suppression of unwanted memories results in impaired later retrieval. Because sleep is known to benefit consolidation of newly learned materials, including cognitive skills, we hypothesized that memory suppression would be enhanced by sleep, and perhaps particularly by rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is associated more often with dream reports. Subjects (n = 42) learned a list of word-pairs and, subsequently, the first (cue) words of the pairs were presented again; for half these words subjects had to recall respective second words (response pairs) and for the other half they had to keep respective second words out of mind (suppression pairs). Retrieval of both response and suppression pairs was tested after 8 h of sleep or wakefulness (main experiment) or after 3-h periods of early slow wave sleep (SWS)-rich or late REM-rich sleep (supplementary experiment). Response pairs were generally recalled better after sleep than wakefulness (P < 0.05). Recall of suppression pairs was, as expected, worse than of response pairs. Contrary to our hypothesis, memory for suppression pairs was not affected differentially by sleep. In the supplementary experiment, compared to SWS-rich sleep, REM-rich sleep even improved recall of suppression pairs (P < 0.05). Thus, sleep does not benefit the forgetting of unwanted memories but, on the contrary, REM sleep might even counteract the voluntary suppression of memories making them more accessible for retrieval.
Department of Psychology, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of sleep research
- PubMed Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20723021
- DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2869.2010.00881.x
Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing
A technique that induces the processing of disturbing memories and experiences, by stimulating neural mechanisms that are similar to those activated during REM sleep. The technique consists of eye movements following side-to-side movements of the index and middle fingers, or the alternate tapping of the hands on the knees. This procedure triggers the processing of information, thus facilitating the connection of neural networks.
Periods of sleep manifested by changes in EEG activity and certain behavioral correlates; includes Stage 1: sleep onset, drowsy sleep; Stage 2: light sleep; Stages 3 and 4: delta sleep, light sleep, deep sleep, telencephalic sleep.
Sleep Disorders, Intrinsic
Dyssomnias (i.e., insomnias or hypersomnias) associated with dysfunction of internal sleep mechanisms or secondary to a sleep-related medical disorder (e.g., sleep apnea, post-traumatic sleep disorders, etc.). (From Thorpy, Sleep Disorders Medicine, 1994, p187)
Movements or behaviors associated with sleep, sleep stages, or partial arousals from sleep that may impair sleep maintenance. Parasomnias are generally divided into four groups: arousal disorders, sleep-wake transition disorders, parasomnias of REM sleep, and nonspecific parasomnias. (From Thorpy, Sleep Disorders Medicine, 1994, p191)
A sleep disorder of central nervous system origin characterized by prolonged nocturnal sleep and periods of daytime drowsiness. Affected individuals experience difficulty with awakening in the morning and may have associated sleep drunkenness, automatic behaviors, and memory disturbances. This condition differs from narcolepsy in that daytime sleep periods are longer, there is no association with CATAPLEXY, and the multiple sleep latency onset test does not record sleep-onset rapid eye movement sleep. (From Chokroverty, Sleep Disorders Medicine, 1994, pp319-20; Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 1998 Apr:52(2):125-129)
Over the past two decades, research has accumulated compelling evidence that sleep supports the formation of long-term memory. The standard two-stage memory model that has been originally elaborated f...
Sleep has repeatedly been connected to processes of memory consolidation. While extensive research indeed documents beneficial effects of sleep on memory, little is yet known about the role of sleep f...
The brain does not retain all the information it encodes in a day. Much is forgotten, and of those memories retained, their subsequent evolution can follow any of a number of pathways. Emerging data m...
There is deepening understanding of the effects of sleep on emotional information processing. Emotion information processing is a key aspect of social competence, which undergoes important maturationa...
Studies have revealed an association between EEG sleep spindles and processing of memories during sleep. Here we investigated whether there is a temporal relation between sleep spindles and MEG oscill...
Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common diseases and one of the leading causes of disability in the world. People with OA frequently experience sleep disturbances, primarily due to p...
We would like to test the effect of opioid medication on pain sensitivity in subjects who have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) compared to other s...
This study examines the role of sleep apnea treatment in improving cardiovascular biomarkers.
This study will compare the responses of subjects with traumatic memories of varying vintages to either propranolol or placebo in a double-blind setting. It is hypothesized that those subj...
It is of great clinical relevance to know if selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors affect information processing. Our hypothesis was that aspects of information processing would be dist...