Daytime Naps Found To Enhance False Memories

It might be nice to catch a nap after a rough morning, but it may mean you don’t remember things quite right. Lancaster University researchers tested two groups of people– one that had taken naps up to an hour and 45 minutes long, and one that stayed awake all day. Both took a computer test involving words, and after the nap, all participants were asked to recall certain words from the list. The group that had napped was found to be “significantly more likely” to think they had seen words in the earlier test that they really hadn’t. Study co-author John Shaw, a PhD student, adds, “The study is a great demonstration of the benefits of a daytime nap in terms of consolidation. But it highlights that the type of information we consolidate may undergo a change from the literal representation to a more abstract or gist-based form. This is a great mechanism for general memory but the study does demonstrate the downside to this, with retrieval errors possible.”