EFFECT OF RAPID EYE MOVEMENT (DREAMING) SLEEP DEPRIVATION ON RETENTION OF AVOIDANCE LEARNING IN RATS
NAVAL SUBMARINE MEDICAL RESEARCH LAB GROTON CT
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The effect of deprivation of rapid eye movement REM sleep upon retention of a passive avoidance response in rats was studied. An incompletely- learned avoidance response was established in one trial by shocking the animals when they stepped down from an elevated platform. Fourteen animals were then deprived of REM sleep by placing them on small inverted pots in a pool of water. Twelve control animals were placed on slightly larger pots which permitted normal sleep. None of the REM-Deprived animals showed retention of the response when tested the day after training, whereas sixty per cent of the control animals showed retention. The results suggested that REM sleep is essential for adequate adaptation to new experiences, especially those which cannot be completely comprehended upon first exposure.