Implicit Vocabulary Learning during Sleep Is Bound to Slow-Wave Peaks

Züst, Marc Alain; Ruch, Simon; Wiest, Roland; Henke, Katharina (2019). Implicit Vocabulary Learning during Sleep Is Bound to Slow-Wave Peaks. Current biology, 29(4), 541-553.e7. Elsevier 10.1016/j.cub.2018.12.038

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Learning while asleep is a dream of mankind, but is often deemed impossible because sleep lacks the conscious awareness and neurochemical milieu thought to be necessary for learning. Current evidence for sleep learning in humans is inconclusive. To explore conditions under which verbal learning might occur, we hypothesized that peaks of slow waves would be conducive to verbal learning because the peaks define periods of neural excitability. While in slow-wave sleep during a nap, a series of word pairs comprising pseudowords, e.g., “tofer,” and actual German words, e.g., “Haus” (house), were played to young German-speaking women and men. When the presentation of the second word of a pair (e.g., “Haus” of “tofer-house”) coincided with an ongoing slow-wave peak, the chances increased that a new semantic association between the pair had been formed and retained. Sleep-formed associations translated into awake ones, where they guided forced choices on an implicit memory test. Reactivations of sleep-formed associations were mirrored by brain activation increases measured with fMRI in cortical language areas and the hippocampus, a brain structure critical for relational binding. We infer that implicit relational binding had occurred during peaks of slow oscillations, recruiting a hippocampal-neocortical network comparable to vocabulary learning in the waking state.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Psychological and Behavioral Health
10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory (CCLM)

UniBE Contributor:

Züst, Marc; Ruch, Simon; Wiest, Roland and Henke, Katharina

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

0960-9822

Publisher:

Elsevier

Funders:

Organisations 0 not found.
[UNSPECIFIED] Interfaculty Research Cooperation grant

Language:

English

Submitter:

Marc Züst

Date Deposited:

25 Jun 2019 10:24

Last Modified:

25 Jun 2019 10:24

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.cub.2018.12.038

PubMed ID:

30713104

Uncontrolled Keywords:

hippocampus, vocabulary, unconscious, implicit, memory, fMRI, EEG, sleep, consolidation, sleep learning

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.126044

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/126044

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