Curiosity-driven memory enhancement persists over time but does not benefit from post-learning sleep

Christopher J. Stare, Matthias J. Gruber, Lynn Nadel, Charan Ranganath, Rebecca L. Gómez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Sleep-dependent memory processing is dependent on several factors at learning, including emotion, encoding strength, and knowledge of future relevance. Recent work documents the role of curiosity on learning, showing that memory associated with high-curiosity encoding states is retained better and that this effect may be driven by activity within the dopaminergic circuit. Here, we examined whether this curiosity effect was enhanced by or dependent on sleep-related consolidation. Participants learned the answers to trivia questions that they had previously rated on a curiosity scale, and they were shown faces between each question and answer presentation. Memory for these answers and faces was tested either immediately or after a 12-hour delay containing sleep or wakefulness, and polysomnography data was collected for a subset of the sleep participants. Although the curiosity effect for both the answers and incidentally-learned faces was replicated in immediate tests and after the 12-hour delay, the effect was not impacted by the presence of sleep in either case, nor did the effect show a relationship with total sleep time or time in slow-wave sleep. This study suggests that curiosity may be a learning factor that is not subsequently affected by sleep-dependent memory consolidation, but more work ought to examine the role of sleep on curiosity-driven memory in other contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-115
Number of pages16
JournalCognitive Neuroscience
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2018


  • Sleep
  • consolidation
  • curiosity
  • declarative memory
  • dopamine
  • eye blink rate
  • learning
  • memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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