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Reactivating memories during sleep by odors: odor specificity and associated changes in sleep oscillations


Rihm, Julia S; Diekelmann, Susanne; Born, Jan; Rasch, Björn (2014). Reactivating memories during sleep by odors: odor specificity and associated changes in sleep oscillations. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(8):1806-1818.

Abstract

Memories are reactivated during sleep. Reexposure to olfactory cues during sleep triggers this reactivation and improves later recall performance. Here, we tested if the effects of odor-induced memory reactivations are odor specific, that is, requiring the same odor during learning and subsequent sleep. We also tested whether odor-induced memory reactivation affects oscillatory EEG activity during sleep, as a putative mechanism underlying memory processing during sleep. Participants learned a visuospatial memory task under the presence of an odor. During subsequent SWS, the same odor, a different odor, or an odorless vehicle was presented. We found that odor reexposure during sleep significantly improves memory only when the same odor was presented again, whereas exposure to a new odor or the odorless vehicle had no effect. The memory-enhancing effect of the congruent odor was accompanied by significant increases in frontal delta (1.5-4.5 Hz) and parietal fast spindle (13.0-15.0 Hz) power as well as by an increased negative-to-positive slope of the frontal slow oscillation. Our results indicate that odor-induced memory reactivations are odor specific and trigger changes in slow-wave and spindle power possibly reflecting a bottom-up influence of hippocampal memory replay on cortical slow oscillations as well as thalamo-cortical sleep spindles.

Abstract

Memories are reactivated during sleep. Reexposure to olfactory cues during sleep triggers this reactivation and improves later recall performance. Here, we tested if the effects of odor-induced memory reactivations are odor specific, that is, requiring the same odor during learning and subsequent sleep. We also tested whether odor-induced memory reactivation affects oscillatory EEG activity during sleep, as a putative mechanism underlying memory processing during sleep. Participants learned a visuospatial memory task under the presence of an odor. During subsequent SWS, the same odor, a different odor, or an odorless vehicle was presented. We found that odor reexposure during sleep significantly improves memory only when the same odor was presented again, whereas exposure to a new odor or the odorless vehicle had no effect. The memory-enhancing effect of the congruent odor was accompanied by significant increases in frontal delta (1.5-4.5 Hz) and parietal fast spindle (13.0-15.0 Hz) power as well as by an increased negative-to-positive slope of the frontal slow oscillation. Our results indicate that odor-induced memory reactivations are odor specific and trigger changes in slow-wave and spindle power possibly reflecting a bottom-up influence of hippocampal memory replay on cortical slow oscillations as well as thalamo-cortical sleep spindles.

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18 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPSYCH Erstautor
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:07 Mar 2014 13:58
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:36
Publisher:MIT Press
ISSN:0898-929X
Additional Information:Copyright: MIT Press
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_00579
PubMed ID:24456392

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