Published: Sept. 10, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Sleep may reduce mistakes in memory, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by a cognitive neuroscientist at Michigan State University.
The findings, which appear in the September issue of the journal Learning & Memory, have practical implications for everyone from students flubbing multiple choice tests to senior citizens confusing their medications, said Kimberly Fenn, principal investigator and MSU assistant professor of psychology.
“It’s easy to muddle things in your mind,” Fenn said. “This research suggests that after sleep you’re better able to tease apart the incorrect aspect of that memory.”
Fenn and colleagues from the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis studied the presence of false memory in groups of college students. While previous research has shown that sleep improves memory, this study is the first to address errors in memory, she said.