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Himmer, Lea; Müller, Elias; Gais, Steffen; Schönauer, Monika (2017): Sleep-mediated memory consolidation depends on the level of integration at encoding. In: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Vol. 137: pp. 101-106
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There is robust evidence that sleep facilitates declarative memory consolidation. Integration of newly acquired memories into existing neocortical knowledge networks has been proposed to underlie this effect. Here, we test whether sleep affects memory retention for word-picture associations differently when it was learned explicitly or using a fast mapping strategy. Fast mapping is an incidental form of learning that references new information to existing knowledge and possibly allows neocortical integration already during encoding. If the integration of information into neocortical networks is a main function of sleep-dependent memory consolidation, material learned via fast mapping should therefore benefit less from sleep. Supporting this idea, we find that sleep has a protective effect on explicitly learned associations. In contrast, memory for associations learned by fast mapping does not benefit from sleep and remains stable regardless of whether sleep or wakefulness follows learning. Our results thus indicate that the need for sleep-mediated consolidation depends on the strategy used for learning and might thus be related to the level of integration of newly acquired memory achieved during encoding.