Date of Award

2003

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Craig Speelman

Abstract

The current research was designed to evaluate the effect of sleep on memory for the declarative and procedural knowledge components of a cognitive skill. In a training phase, 17 participants in a no-sleep control group practised 120 repetitions of a simple algebra equation at Sam and 22 participants in a sleep group practised the task at 8pm. Novel task inputs were introduced withh1 the same task structure in a transfer phase conducted 12 hours after training for each group. Overnight sleep conferred a 29% performance deficit on the transfer tusk compared to no-sleep controls. The results support the hypothesis that sleep consolidates declarative and procedural knowledge components of an acquired cognitive skill. The prediction that, when consolidated by sleep, knowledge acquired in training creates processing overheads that disrupt post-sleep transfer when task inputs are changed at transfer was upheld. Discussion considered the influence at transfer of three cognitive phenomena: proactive interference, inhibition, and facilitation developed in training. A basis for parsing the relative discrete effects of these phenomena is advanced and a novel framework for predicting skill acquisition and transfer across various training and transfer conditions is outlined. The present study extends support to sleep-consolidation of complex declarative knowledge as well as procedural knowledge, and has implications for theories of memory system dissociation as well as theories of skill acquisition and transfer.

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