The role of sleep in declarative memory consolidation: passive, permissive, active or none?
Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.

The role of sleep in declarative memory consolidation: passive, permissive, active or none?

Jeffrey M Ellenbogena, E-mail The Corresponding Author, Jessica D Paynea and Robert Stickgolda

aCenter for Sleep and Cognition, Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Feldberg 866, Boston MA, 02215 USA

Available online 7 November 2006.

Those inclined to relish in scientific controversy will not be disappointed by the literature on the effects of sleep on memory. Opinions abound. Yet refinements in the experimental study of these complex processes of sleep and memory are bringing this fascinating relationship into sharper focus. A longstanding position contends that sleep passively protects memories by temporarily sheltering them from interference, thus providing precious little benefit for memory. But recent evidence is unmasking a more substantial and long-lasting benefit of sleep for declarative memories. Although the precise causal mechanisms within sleep that result in memory consolidation remain elusive, recent evidence leads us to conclude that unique neurobiological processes within sleep actively enhance declarative memories.

Article Outline

Hypothesis one — no benefit

Sleep contributes nothing to memory

Hypothesis two — passive protection

Sleep transiently shelters memories from interference

Hypothesis three — permissive consolidation

Sleep creates conditions conducive to memory consolidation, but plays no other unique role in the consolidation process

Hypothesis four — active consolidation

Unique properties of sleep are directly involved in the memory consolidation process

References and recommended reading
Comments: 0