Sleep and Stress Interact to Promote Emotional Memory Consolidation

Recording of Presentation


Speaker: Jessica Payne

Bio: Dr. Jessica Payne is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Andrew J. McKenna Family Collegiate Chair at the University of Notre Dame, where she directs the Sleep, Stress, and Memory Lab. Payne’s research focuses on how sleep and stress independently and interactively influence learning, memory, emotion, and creativity. She teaches various courses in Psychology and Neuroscience, including a popular course entitled “The Sleeping Brain” for which she won Harvard University’s Bok Center Award for teaching excellence and Notre Dame’s Frank O’Malley award for undergraduate teaching and service. She also recently won the Laird Cermak Award for her contribution to memory research, the Early Career Award from the Psychonomic Society, which is “the home for scientists who study how the mind works”, and was elected a Kavil Fellow with the National Academy of Sciences. Kavli fellows are young researchers who have already made recognized contributions to science, and 150 Kavli fellows have been elected into the National Academy of Sciences and 10 have been awarded Nobel Prizes.

Her postdoctoral fellowship was split between Harvard University’s Psychology Department and Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology/Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Arizona.

Talk Abstract: Separate lines of research demonstrate that elevated stress hormones (e.g. cortisol and norepinephrine) can selectively benefit the consolidation of emotional memories, as can the occurrence of sleep shortly after learning. I will discuss evidence, from behavioral, psychophysiological, and neuroimaging studies, suggesting that stress and arousal interact with sleep to augment memory consolidation, particularly for emotionally negative information. I will present a model arguing that stress hormones help ‘tag’ emotional information as important to remember at the time of encoding, thus enabling subsequent, sleep-based plasticity processes to optimally consolidate emotional information in a selective manner.

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