Past aversive experiences shape our ability to deal with future dangers, through the encoding of implicit and explicit memory traces and through the ability to generalize defensive reactions to new stimuli resembling learned threats. Numerous evidence demonstrate that sleep is important for the consolidation of memories related to threatening events. However, there is a lack of studies examining the effects of sleep deprivation on the retrieval of consolidated threat memories, and previous studies on the role of sleep in threat generalization have produced mixed results. To address these issues, here we adopted a differential threat conditioning and a delayed (second half of the night) sleep deprivation during the first or the seventh night after learning. We found no effects of sleep deprivation on either implicit or explicit threat memories, regardless of its occurrence timing. Conversely, implicit but not explicit responses to novel cues similar to a learned threat displayed a widened generalization pattern, but only if sleep deprivation took place during the first night after conditioning and not if it occurred during the seventh night after conditioning. Therefore, we propose that sleeping after exposure to danger may support optimal implicit discrimination processes to evaluate new signals in the future and that even a brief period of sleeplessness may widen threat generalization to new stimuli, which is a hallmark of several threat-related disorders.

Sleep Deprivation During Memory Consolidation, but Not Before Memory Retrieval, Widens Threat Generalization to New Stimuli

Giordano, A;Cicolin, A;Sacchetti, B
2022-01-01

Abstract

Past aversive experiences shape our ability to deal with future dangers, through the encoding of implicit and explicit memory traces and through the ability to generalize defensive reactions to new stimuli resembling learned threats. Numerous evidence demonstrate that sleep is important for the consolidation of memories related to threatening events. However, there is a lack of studies examining the effects of sleep deprivation on the retrieval of consolidated threat memories, and previous studies on the role of sleep in threat generalization have produced mixed results. To address these issues, here we adopted a differential threat conditioning and a delayed (second half of the night) sleep deprivation during the first or the seventh night after learning. We found no effects of sleep deprivation on either implicit or explicit threat memories, regardless of its occurrence timing. Conversely, implicit but not explicit responses to novel cues similar to a learned threat displayed a widened generalization pattern, but only if sleep deprivation took place during the first night after conditioning and not if it occurred during the seventh night after conditioning. Therefore, we propose that sleeping after exposure to danger may support optimal implicit discrimination processes to evaluate new signals in the future and that even a brief period of sleeplessness may widen threat generalization to new stimuli, which is a hallmark of several threat-related disorders.
2022
16
1
12
threat generalization; sleep deprivation; consolidation; retrieval; threat memory
Manassero, E; Giordano, A; Raimondo, E; Cicolin, A; Sacchetti, B
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1867331
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