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To further characterize perceptual memory consolidation during sleep, we used a coarse orientation discrimination task in which participants had to discriminate the orientation of orthogonal gratings occluded by increasing levels of noise. In a first study (N = 11), we showed that the learning effect in this task is retinotopic (position-specific) and orientation specific. In a second experiment, we assessed the effect of nocturnal sleep, as opposed to the effect of time, on perceptual learning. A first group of participants was trained in the morning, tested in the evening and retested the next morning (morning-evening-morning, MEM, N = 11); a second group was trained in the evening, tested the next morning, and retested in the evening (evening-morning-evening; EME; N = 12). Between training and testing, EME subjects improved significantly more (after a night of sleep) than MEM subjects (after 12 waking hours). Similarly, between test and retest, performance of MEM subjects (after a full night of sleep) improved significantly more than in EME subjects (after 12 further waking hours). These results suggest a beneficial effect of sleep on coarse orientation discrimination. Further studies are needed to characterize the neural correlates of this perceptual learning and the offline consolidation of perceptual memory.

Original publication

DOI

10.1167/8.4.7

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Vis

Publication Date

15/04/2008

Volume

8

Pages

7.1 - 7.9

Keywords

Adult, Behavior, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Learning, Male, Memory, Sleep, Task Performance and Analysis, Visual Perception, Wakefulness