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Sleep supports the consolidation of recently encoded declarative and procedural memories. An important component of this effect is the repeated reactivation of neuronal ensemble activity elicited during memory encoding. For perceptual learning, however, sleep benefits have only been reported for specific tasks and it is not clear whether sleep targets low-level perceptual, higher-order temporal or attentional aspects of performance. Here, we employed a coarse binocular disparity discrimination task, known to rely on low-level stereoscopic vision. We show that human subjects improve over training and retain the same performance level across a 12-h retention period. Improvements do not generalize to other parts of the visual field and are unaffected by whether the retention period contains sleep or not. These results are compatible with the notion that behavioural improvements in binocular disparity discrimination do not additionally benefit from sleep when compared with the same time spent awake. We hypothesize that this might generalize to other strictly low-level perceptual tasks. This article is part of the Theo Murphy meeting issue 'Memory reactivation: replaying events past, present and future'.

Citation

Jens G Klinzing, Lena Herbrik, Hendrikje Nienborg, Karsten Rauss. Binocular disparity-based learning is retinotopically specific and independent of sleep. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences. 2020 May 25;375(1799):20190463

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PMID: 32248784

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