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James Antony, PhD
Title: How memories endure: memory reactivation during sleep and wake
Date: Tuesday, December 18th, 2018
Location: Herklotz Conference Center, Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Memories change over time, as some of their features become weaker (forgetting) and others become stronger (consolidation). In this talk, I will investigate how long-term memory change is modulated by reactivation during sleep and wake. First, I will focus on a technique that involves presenting learning-related stimuli during sleep (termed targeted memory reactivation, or TMR). My findings show that TMR benefits memory retention for numerous types of memory. Crucially, they also point to a specific physiological process – the sleep spindle – that is essential for optimal memory reactivation during sleep. Next, I will present a theoretical framework that addresses how retrieval (vs. restudy) affects the neurobiological underpinnings of long-term memory; I will present results that support this framework as well as future plans for testing the framework. Last, I will discuss a separate line of work asking how individual episodes become abstracted into gist-based representations in a spatial domain, including results from a neuroimaging study that uses a virtual reality environment to reconstruct memory for locations. Cumulatively, these findings significantly contribute to understanding how reactivation benefits and shapes memory consolidation.