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Sleep on it, but only if it is difficult:effects of sleep on problem solving

Sio, Ut Na and Monaghan, Padraic and Ormerod, Thomas (2013) Sleep on it, but only if it is difficult:effects of sleep on problem solving. Memory and Cognition, 41 (2). pp. 159-166. ISSN 0090-502X

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Abstract

Previous research has shown that performance on problem solving improves over a period of sleep compared to wakefulness. However, these studies have not determined whether sleep is beneficial for problem solving or whether sleep merely mitigates against interference due to an interruption to solution attempts. Sleep-dependent improvements have been described in terms of spreading-activation, which raises the prediction that an effect of sleep should be greater for problems requiring a broader solution search. We presented participants with a set of remote associates tasks that varied in difficulty as a function of the strength of the stimuli-answer associations. After a period of sleep, wake, or no-delay, participants reattempted previously unsolved problems. The sleep group solved more difficult problems than the other groups, but no difference was found for easy problems. We conclude that sleep facilitates problem solving, most likely via spreading activation, but this has its primary effect for harder problems

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Memory and Cognition
Uncontrolled Keywords: sleep ; Insight ; incubation
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Psychology
ID Code: 58229
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 05 Sep 2012 08:46
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2013 15:24
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/58229

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