Consolidation of Episodic Memories During Sleep: Long-Term Effects of Retrieval Practice
Psychological Science OnlineFirst, published on November 23, 2009 as doi:10.1177/0956797609354074
Mihály Racsmány, Martin A. Conway, and Gyula Demeter
Two experiments investigated the long-term effects of retrieval practice. In the retrieval-practice procedure, selected items from a previously studied list are repeatedly recalled. The typical retrieval-practice effects are considerably enhanced memory for practiced items accompanied by low levels of recall, relative to baseline, for previously studied items that are associated with the practiced items but were not themselves practiced. The two experiments demonstrated that the former effect persisted over 12 hr; the latter effect also persisted over 12 hr, but only if a period of nocturnal sleep occurred during the retention interval. We propose that consolidation processes occurring during sleep, and possibly featuring some form of offline rehearsal, mediate these long-term effects of retrieval practice.