|Reference code: ||PT/FB/BL-2016-211.05|
|Impact of waking rest on memory consolidation|
|Publication year: ||2018|
Sleep and quiet rest have both been shown to facilitate the consolidation of memory. In two studies, we explored the features of quiet rest after learning that account for its effect on memory consolidation, experimentally manipulating the activity that participants engaged in during the minutes after encoding. Study 1 compared eyes-closed rest to meditation, a state in which one is similarly relaxed with their eyes closed, but is intently focusing on a mental task—in this case breath mindfulness. Study 2 compared eyes-closed quiet rest to both smartphone usage and mental arithmetic. We hypothesized that conditions characterized by minimal mental effort would result in improved memory consolidation, with even very simple instructions to attend to internal states (breath focus, mental arithmetic) interfering with the memory benefit of rest.
Study 1 used a within-subjects design where participants (n= 40) were trained on an Icelandic word pair memory task before and after either meditating or resting. In Study 2 (in progress), three groups of subjects (planned n=50 per group) learned how to categorize 270 abstract dot patterns into three different categories. Following a 15 minute break in which subjects either rested, used their smartphone, or performed mental arithmetic, participants were tested on their ability to correctly categorize these same dot patterns, as well as new dot patterns, and the category “prototypes” from which the dot patterns were created. EEG was collected during all rest conditions, in both studies.
In Study 1, although there was no overall effect of meditation vs. quiet rest on memory, we found that time engaged in breath focus was negatively correlated with subsequent memory (r(31)=0.54, p=0.002), with participants who spent more time attending to their breath during meditation showing a significant memory decrement at later test.
Our observations in Study 1 are consistent with the hypothesis that even simple focused attention to one’s own breathing could impair subsequent memory by diverting cognitive resources away from spontaneous consolidation processes. It may be that consolidation is best facilitated by periods of unconstrained rest in which no object of mental focus is provided, with even minimal instructions to focus attention on internal states interfering with the mnemonic benefits of rest.
|Accessibility: ||Document exists in file|
|Collins, M. B.|
|Secondary author(s): |
|Hall, A., Rhea, C., Wamsley, E. J|
|Document type: |
|Collins, M. B., Hall, A., Rhea, C., & Wamsley, E. J. (2018). Impact of waking rest on memory consolidation. Agenda and Abstract Book of the 2018 FUN Poster Session and Social. Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience, San Diego, CA. |
|Keywords: ||Memory consolidation / Rest / Meditation|
Impact of waking rest on memory consolidation