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Trends Cogn Sci. 2013 Mar;17(3):142-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2013.01.006. Epub 2013 Feb 19.

Upgrading the sleeping brain with targeted memory reactivation.

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Department of Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience Program, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.


A fundamental feature of human memory is the propensity for beneficial changes in information storage after initial encoding. Recent research findings favor the possibility that memory consolidation during sleep is instrumental for actively maintaining the storehouse of memories that individuals carry through their lives. The information that ultimately remains available for retrieval may tend to be that which is reactivated during sleep. A novel source of support for this idea comes from demonstrations that neurocognitive processing during sleep can benefit memory storage when memories are covertly cued via auditory or olfactory stimulation. Investigations of these subtle manipulations of memory processing during sleep can help elucidate the mechanisms of memory preservation in the human brain.

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