Sleep-induced generation of explicit knowledge is more pronounced in children than adults
Wilhelm, I.1, Rasch, B.2, and Born, J.1
1Department of Neuroendocrinology, University of Luebeck; 2Division for Molecular Psychology, Basel
The generation of explicit knowledge of a motor memory task is fundamental in the progress of motor learning. Sleep and especially slow wave sleep can boost the reorganization of memories forming the basis for the generation of explicitness. On the background of great amounts of slow wave sleep in children, we have investigated the effects of sleep on explicit measures of motor memories in 47 children and 31 adults. Subjects learned a motor memory task and were tested on their explicit knowledge of the sequence after a retention sleep or wakefulness. Sleep enhanced explicit knowledge in both groups, but to a distinctly larger extent in children than adults. On the background of recent studies indicating that sleep improves the implicit component of motor learning in adults but not in children, the present findings suggest a possible sleep-dependent interaction between the explicit and implicit components of motor memory formation in children.