Time, not sleep, unbinds contexts from item memory

R. Cox, R.R. Tijdens, M. Meeter, C.M. Sweegers, L.M. Talamini

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Contextual cues are known to benefit memory retrieval, but whether and how sleep affects this context effect remains unresolved. We manipulated contextual congruence during memory retrieval in human volunteers across 12 h and 24 h intervals beginning with either sleep or wakefulness. Our data suggest that whereas contextual cues lose their potency with time, sleep does not modulate this process. Furthermore, our results are consistent with the idea that sleep's beneficial effect on memory retention depends on the amount of waking time that has passed between encoding and sleep onset. The findings are discussed in the framework of competitive consolidation theory. © 2014 Cox et al.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e88307
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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