Effect of paradoxical sleep deprivation and stress on passive avoidance behavior Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous studies have shown that several types of stress can induce memory impairment. However, the memory effects of paradoxical sleep deprivation (PSD), a stressor in itself, are unclear. We therefore compared passive avoidance behavior of rats undergoing PSD and PSD stress yoked-control (PSC) using the "reversed flowerpot method." When rats were kept isolated on a PSC platform for 24 h immediately after criterion training, retention trials showed impaired aversive memory storage. When delayed for 24 h after criterion training, PSC stress did not disrupt retention performance. In rats subjected to PSD, either immediately or 24 h after criterion training, there was no disruption of aversive memory consolidation. These results suggest that, during stress, paradoxical sleep plays a role in erasing aversive memory traces, in line with the theory that we "dream in order to forget."

publication date

  • September 2003