Memory consolidation effects in altered states of consciousness

Santis, Constantinos (2017). Memory consolidation effects in altered states of consciousness. University of Birmingham. M.Sc.

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Memory consolidation is the process by which new experiences are stabilized following their initial acquisition. Previous studies have shown that promoting consolidation via cueing during non-REM sleep is effective in boosting memory retrieval, while during waking states this is detrimental. Here, cued reactivation was examined amidst an artificially generated delta brainwave state (commonly found in non-REM sleep) with regard to its effect memory retrieval when compared to an ‘Awake’ state. In order to achieve this ‘Altered’ state of consciousness, binaural beat technology was used. Memory retrieval was examined using both explicit recollection and an implicit recognition memory task in an attempt to examine any differential effects on hippocampus dependent and hippocampus independent memories. During the control experiment involving an ‘Awake’ state, memory retrieval was not significantly reduced by cueing as expected when examining previous research. Similarly, during an ‘Altered’ state, no significant effect of cueing on memory was observed in either the explicit and implicit memory retrieval tasks. However, the depth of encoding appeared to greatly increase the memory recall throughout and so the possible explanations for these findings are discussed. Future iterations and improvements are outlined in an attempt to expand research into this subtle and often elusive phenomenon.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Sc.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Sc.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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