Poster E74, Monday, March 26, 2:30-4:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Awake Targeted Memory Reactivation and Foreign Language Learning
Linda J. Hoffman1, Kylie H. Alm2, Chi T. Ngo1, Ingrid R. Olson1; 1Temple University, 2Johns Hopkins University
Several studies have shown that the contents of memory can be biased towards specific items using a technique called targeted memory reactivation (TMR). In typical TMR interventions, participants encode pictures and then take a nap, during which time sounds are played that were previously associated with the encoded images. When memory is later tested, pictures that were “reactivated” by the sound cues are better remembered. There is some evidence that suggests that sleep is essential for this process (Diekelmann, Büchel, Born, & Rasch, 2011). We, however, hypothesized that TMR can occur during wakeful rest, and that the nature of these effects are modulated by the level of environmental interference. To test this, two groups of English speakers were required to learn 72 Japanese vocabulary words, each of which was associated with a semantically related sound and image. After the learning phase, there was a rest phase during which one group of participants engaged in a high interference task (i.e. played Tetris), while the other engaged in a low interference task (i.e. watched a virtual fireplace video). Half of the sound cues were replayed during this rest phase. Results showed that when memories were reactivated while playing Tetris, memory was disrupted. However when memories were reactivated while engaging in more passive activities, memory was enhanced. These findings indicate that sleep is not essential for TMR. They also have implications for TMR’s potential utility in interventions targeting the attenuation of unwanted memories, and the amelioration of memory for academically oriented content.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Other