Retrieval and sleep both counteract the forgetting of spatial information

James W. Antony*, Ken A. Paller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Repeatedly studying information is a good way to strengthen memory storage. Nevertheless, testing recall often produces superior long-term retention. Demonstrations of this testing effect, typically with verbal stimuli, have shown that repeated retrieval through testing reduces forgetting. Sleep also benefits memory storage, perhaps through repeated retrieval as well. That is, memories may generally be subject to forgetting that can be counteracted when memories become reactivated, and there are several types of reactivation: (i) via intentional restudying, (ii) via testing, (iii) without provocation during wake, or (iv) during sleep. We thus measured forgetting for spatial material subjected to repeated study or repeated testing followed by retention intervals with sleep versus wake. Four groups of subjects learned a set of visual object-location associations and either restudied the associations or recalled locations given the objects as cues. We found the advantage for restudied over retested information was greater in the PM than AM group. Additional groups tested at 5-min and 1-wk retention intervals confirmed previous findings of greater relative benefits for restudying in the short-term and for retesting in the long-term. Results overall support the conclusion that repeated reactivation through testing or sleeping stabilizes information against forgetting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-263
Number of pages6
JournalLearning and Memory
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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