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Autobiographical memory and hyperassociativity in the dreaming brain: implications for memory consolidation in sleep

Horton, Caroline and Malinowski, J.E. (2015) Autobiographical memory and hyperassociativity in the dreaming brain: implications for memory consolidation in sleep. Frontiers in Psychology, 6 (874). pp. 1-14. ISSN 1664-1078

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00874


In this paper we argue that autobiographical memory (AM) activity across sleep and wake can provide insight into the nature of dreaming, and vice versa. Activated memories within the sleeping brain reflect one’s personal life history (autobiography). They can appear in largely fragmentary forms and differ from conventional manifestations of episodic memory. Autobiographical memories in dreams can be sampled from non-REM as well as REM periods, which contain fewer episodic references and become more bizarre across the night. Salient fragmented memory features are activated in sleep and re-bound with fragments not necessarily emerging from the same memory, thus de-contextualizing those memories and manifesting as experiences that differ from waking conceptions. The constructive nature of autobiographical recall further encourages synthesis of these hyper-associated images into an episode via recalling and reporting dreams. We use a model of AM to account for the activation of memories in dreams as a reflection of sleep-dependent memory consolidation processes. We focus in particular on the hyperassociative nature of AM during sleep.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's open access policy.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Autobiographical memory, Dreaming, Memory consolidation, Sleep, Continuity hypothesis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Social Science
Depositing User: Dr Caroline Horton
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2016 07:26
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2016 07:26
URI: http://researchonline.bishopg.ac.uk/id/eprint/47

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