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Emotional arousal modulates oscillatory correlates of targeted memory reactivation during NREM, but not REM sleep

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Lehmann Mick, Schreiner Thomas, Seifritz Erich, Rasch Björn,
Project The role of memory reactivations during wakefulness and sleep
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Scientific Reports
Page(s) 39229
Title of proceedings Scientific Reports

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is considered to preferentially reprocess emotionally arousing memories. We tested this hypothesis by cueing emotional vs. neutral memories during REM and NREM sleep and wakefulness by presenting associated verbal memory cues after learning. Here we show that cueing during NREM sleep significantly improved memory for emotional pictures, while no cueing benefit was observed during REM sleep. On the oscillatory level, successful memory cueing during NREM sleep resulted in significant increases in theta and spindle oscillations with stronger responses for emotional than neutral memories. In contrast during REM sleep, solely cueing of neutral (but not emotional) memories was associated with increases in theta activity. Our results do not support a preferential role of REM sleep for emotional memories, but rather suggest that emotional arousal modulates memory replay and consolidation processes and their oscillatory correlates during NREM sleep.