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J Neurosci. 2012 Jan 18;32(3):1035-42. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2532-11.2012.

Processing of emotional reactivity and emotional memory over sleep.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA.

Abstract

Sleep enhances memories, particularly emotional memories. As such, it has been suggested that sleep deprivation may reduce posttraumatic stress disorder. This presumes that emotional memory consolidation is paralleled by a reduction in emotional reactivity, an association that has not yet been examined. In the present experiment, we used an incidental memory task in humans and obtained valence and arousal ratings during two sessions separated either by 12 h of daytime wake or 12 h including overnight sleep. Recognition accuracy was greater following sleep relative to wake for both negative and neutral pictures. While emotional reactivity to negative pictures was greatly reduced over wake, the negative emotional response was relatively preserved over sleep. Moreover, protection of emotional reactivity was associated with greater time in REM sleep. Recognition accuracy, however, was not associated with REM. Thus, we provide the first evidence that sleep enhances emotional memory while preserving emotional reactivity.

PMID:
22262901
PMCID:
PMC3548452
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2532-11.2012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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