Seminar Series

Sleep, consolidation, and semantic memory

Semantic memory can be thought of as the decontextualised gist of multiple related episodes. At a more theoretical level, it can also be thought of as the abstracted statistical properties which define a particular type of experience. Recent research has shown that sleep enhances integration across multiple stimuli, abstraction of general rules, insight into hidden solutions, and even creativity. I will build on this literature by presenting evidence that sleep is also important for the determination of statistical rules which define a particular dataset, for the off-line decontextualisation of episodic memories, and for the integration of newly learned information into existing knowledge. Taken together, these findings support a role for sleep in the formation of new aspects of semantic knowledge.