Undergraduate Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 4-2020




Laura Batterink


Though, it was previously thought that the sleeping brain was dormant, research suggests that participants can process salient stimuli and form implicit memories of simple stimuli (e.g. words) during sleep. Thus, the current study aimed to determine whether participants could form implicit memories of a narrative played during sleep, and what role different sleep stages played in this memory formation. Participants were played a story while taking a nap, and EEG was used to track time spent in different sleep stages. Later, participants completed an implicit memory task where they were asked to differentiate between animal and non-animal words through a button press. It was found that participants responded faster to words stated directly in the story played to them during sleep. However, the same response was not seen for words related to the story. Additionally, no relationship was found between time spent in stage 2 or 3 sleep and implicit memory formation. Altogether, this study suggests implicit memory formation of a narrative is possible for directly-stated words, but more research is needed to see whether memories of story theme can be formed. Finally, it seems that time spent in certain stages is not the mechanism behind implicit memory formation.