Developmental and aging-related changes in sleep's role in cognition
Sleep contributes to cognitive function. For instance, memories are consolidated and selective attention and emotion regulation are enhanced with overnight sleep and mid-day naps. Our work has considered the ramifications of the cognitive functions of sleep on development and aging. Does increased sleep, via daytime naps, enhance cognition during early development? Conversely, do age-related reductions in sleep contribute to the known age-related declines in memory? These questions will be answered in the context of a preliminary model of the evolution of a memory.
Dr. Rebecca Spencer is an Associate Professor of of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.