CBBM Lecture "Memory reactivation during sleep and the role of future relevance"

by PD Dr. Susanne Dieckelmann,

Institute for Medical Psychology and Behavioural Neurobiology,

University Tübingen

will take place on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 from 17:15 to 18:15 hours in CBBM Research Building, EG, Room 50/51.

Host: Prof. Sören Krach
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Universität zu Lübeck


Sleep is known to benefit the consolidation of memories. In an active process of system consolidation, sleep stabilizes and reorganizes new memory representations and integrates them into the network of pre-existing long-term memory. These processes are assumed to rely on covert reactivations of previously acquired memories during sleep, which can also be externally triggered by associated memory cues such as odors. The application of odor cues during slow wave sleep leads to a distinct memory enhancement and an immediate stabilization of new memories, whereas similar odor reactivations during the wake state destabilize memories. Such odor reactivations during a short sleep episode can accelerate sleep-dependent consolidation processes, leading to memory enhancements that are normally seen only after longer sleep periods. Such odor-induced reactivations do not only stabilize memory representations but can also restructure memories thereby fostering the extraction of explicit knowledge. Recent research further provides evidence that consolidation and reactivation processes during sleep target selectively those memories that are relevant for the future, including prospective memories. 


PD Dr. Susanne Diekelmann is a Research Associate at the Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology at the University of Tübingen. She studied Psychology and Philosophy at the Dresden University of Technology and King’s College London. She obtained her PhD at the University of Lübeck in 2011 and her Habilitation in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University Tübingen in 2016 under the supervision of Jan Born. Her main research interest is on the functional role of sleep for processes of learning and memory formation, with a particular focus on memory reactivation during sleep. Her research has been published in a number of high-impact journals, including Nature Reviews Neuroscience and Nature Neuroscience.