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Poster E154

The impact of sleep and retrieval instructions on the implicit learning of relational stimuli

Poster Session E - Monday, April 15, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Alissa Gomez1, Mark Beeman1; 1Northwestern University

Enhanced memory and learning are reportedly benefits of a good night’s sleep. Of particular interest, prior research on implicit learning has shown the importance of sleep for one’s development of relational knowledge, i.e. how learned stimuli relate to each other (Ellenbogen et al., 2007). Here we utilized an implicit learning paradigm to examine how knowledge is structured in memory during sleep and how retrieval of this knowledge is optimally executed to enable us to make decisions in novel situations. Participants (N = 80) first trained on a set of 8 novel ‘virus’ stimuli, presented in pairs, and judged which was more dangerous. Unbeknownst to participants, there was an embedded hierarchy amongst the images, such that A>B>C>D>E>F>G>H (participants did not see any labels). These “premise” pairs depicted stimuli adjacent in the hierarchy (e.g., B vs. C; G vs. F). Participants were randomly assigned to return to the lab after a 12-hour interval that either included sleep or not. Upon returning they were re-evaluated on their memory of the premise pairs and asked to make judgments on 9 novel “inference pairs” of the stimuli (e.g., B vs. D; G vs. C). In the first experiment, half the participants were instructed to make these judgments intuitively and showed better memory performance than participants instructed to make analytic judgments. The second experiment examines how this knowledge is structured in memory: whether sleep fosters stepwise, propositional structuring in memory or rather provides a broad overview of the hierarchical information that was implicitly obtained.

Topic Area: THINKING: Reasoning


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April 13–16  |  2024