Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Colleen Parks

Second Committee Member

David Copeland

Third Committee Member

Joel Snyder

Fourth Committee Member

Alyssa Crittenden

Number of Pages



Prior work on the relationship between sleep and memory suggests that the sleep state is an optimal time for memory consolidation to occur. During slow wave sleep, newly encoded information in the hippocampus is repeatedly activated, driven by slow oscillations that originate in the neocortex. This process that occurs during slow wave sleep facilitates the long-term storage of memories. A widely accepted view of emotion and sleep is that emotional memories are preferentially consolidated during sleep so that they are easily accessible for retrieval, whereas neutral memories tend to be less accessible. However, recent meta-analyses of sleep, emotion, and memory have suggested that this effect may not be as robust as we once thought. To address this issue, the current study investigated the influence of sleep on the consolidation of emotional and neutral memories in a pattern separation task. The results showed no difference between the sleep and wake group on measures of pattern separation or item recognition and no preferential consolidation of emotional images over neutral images. These findings contradict prior literature, but raise questions about the role of sleep in memory consolidation, and more specifically, emotional memory consolidation.


emotion; memory; pattern separation; recognition memory; sleep


Cognitive Psychology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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