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Physiol Behav. 1986;37(4):543-8.

Modification of REM sleep behavior by REMs contingent auditory stimulation in man.


Following studies about supposed relationship between rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep) and learning, a new approach, based on operant conditioning is introduced. We demonstrate that rapid eye movements (REMs) contingent auditory stimulation in man leads to some consistent (quantitative and qualitative) modifications of REM sleep behavior. Stimulating REMs in the frame of a continuous reinforcement schedule increases total REM sleep duration but decreases REMs density, and modifies hemispheric EEG symmetry. The contrasting effects of such sensory stimulations and results related to information processing hypothesis are discussed.

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