PERFORM Colloquium: Sleep’s Role in Determining Which Memories Endure
Whereas memory research has mostly focused on input and output, intervening processing during the time between acquisition and retrieval is also relevant. A growing body of evidence implicates sleep in changing memory storage. In particular, subtle auditory stimulation has been used to selectively encourage memory reactivation during sleep, which thereby improves learning. Investigations of the neural mechanisms of memory processing during sleep may help us enhance the memory benefits of sleep in a variety of circumstances where learning is important.
Ken is a Professor at Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois, USA), where he also directs the Training Program in the Neuroscience of Human Cognition. He received a Neuroscience PhD from UC San Diego, and completed postdoctoral training at Yale, Manchester, and Berkeley. His research has contributed to understanding the neural substrates of conscious memory experiences, and the juxtaposition of those memory experiences with various ways in which memory can influence behavior in the absence of awareness of memory retrieval, as in priming and intuition. Recent studies from his lab showed that sensory processing during sleep can reinforce prior learning, providing novel evidence on sleep’s role in memory. Research papers are available at http://pallerlab.psych.northwestern.edu/.