No benefit of auditory closed-loop stimulation on memory for semantically-incongruent associations

Marcus O. Harrington, Hong-Viet V. Ngo, Scott A. Cairney

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Auditory closed-loop stimulation has gained traction in recent years as a means of enhancing slow oscillatory activity and, consequently, sleep-associated memory consolidation. Previous studies on this topic have primarily focused on the consolidation of semantically-congruent associations. In this study, we investigated the effect of auditory closed-loop stimulation on the overnight retention of semantically-incongruent associations. Twelve healthy males (age: M = 20.06, SD = 2.02 years) participated in two experimental conditions (simulation and sham). In the stimulation condition, clicks were delivered in phase with slow oscillation up-states, whereas in the sham condition no auditory stimuli were applied. Corroborating earlier work, stimulation (vs. sham) enhanced the slow oscillation rhythm, phase-coupled spindle activity and slow oscillation power. However, there was no benefit of stimulation on overnight memory retention. These findings suggest that closed-loop stimulation does not benefit semantically-incongruent associations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107482
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Early online date25 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Declarative memory
  • Semantic memory
  • Slow-wave sleep

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