Sleep Can Reduce False Memories

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August 31, 2009

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If you've ever lost a bet because you forgot something or remembered an event incorrectly, take note: Sleep can reduce false memories and even increase accuracy of episodic memory, according to a study in the journal Learning and Memory . Researchers at the University of Chicago, Illinois, and Michigan State University, East Lansing, examined three experiments that tested subjects' memories of studied words. The researchers found that sleep reduced false recognition of words that weren't studied for the test and there was no change in the subjects remembering words that were studied. Past research has indicated that memory is consolidated during sleep, but these experiments are the first to show sleep may be able to reduce false memories, according to the study abstract.