The Effects of Sleep on Self-Referentially Encoded Personality-Trait Adjectives
Ignagni, Michael P.
Self-referent encoding has been shown to produce better memory retention than semantic encoding. Furthermore, there exists evidence that sleep (especially slow wave sleep) facilitates memory consolidation. This study analyzed the effects of sleep on recognition of self-referentially encoded personality-trait adjectives. Participants were randomly assigned to either a wake condition or sleep condition. Fifty adjectives were encoded self-referentially and SO were encoded through semantic elaboration. Following a distracter test, participants were given a surprise recognition task with SO previously presented adjectives and SO novel adjectives. Participants in the wake condition then returned 12 hours later and were administered the final recognition task. Participants in the sleep condition returned 24 hours later to complete the final recognition task. Results showed that although both conditions did comparably on the surprise recognition task, the sleep condition did significantly better on the final task than the wake condition. There was also marked improvement in the sleep condition's final task compared to its surprise recognition task. This effect was not experienced in the wake group. Finally, results showed that the self-referentially encoded adjectives did in fact experience the same consolidation benefit from sleep as has been shown in semantic elaboration.
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