Interactions of time of day and sleep with between-session habituation and extinction memory in young adult males

Edward F. Pace-Schott, Lauren E. Tracy, Zoe Rubin, Adrian G. Mollica, Jeffrey M. Ellenbogen, Matt T. Bianchi, Mohammed R. Milad, Roger K. Pitman, Scott P. Orr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Within-session habituation and extinction learning co-occur as do subsequent consolidation of habituation (i.e., between-session habituation) and extinction memory. We sought to determine whether, as we predicted: (1) between-session habituation is greater across a night of sleep versus a day awake; (2) time-of-day accounts for differences; (3) between-session habituation predicts consolidation of extinction memory; (4) sleep predicts between-session habituation and/or extinction memory. Participants (N = 28) completed 4-5 sessions alternating between mornings and evenings over 3 successive days (2 nights) with session 1 in either the morning (N = 13) or evening (N = 15). Twelve participants underwent laboratory polysomnography. During 4 sessions, participants completed a loud-tone habituation protocol, while skin conductance response (SCR), blink startle electromyography (EMG), heart-rate acceleration and heart-rate deceleration (HRD) were recorded. For sessions 1 and 2, between-session habituation of EMG, SCR and HRD was greater across sleep. SCR and HRD were generally lower in the morning. Between-session habituation of SCR for sessions 1 and 2 was positively related to intervening (first night) slow wave sleep. In the evening before night 2, participants also underwent fear conditioning and extinction learning phases of a second protocol. Extinction recall was tested the following morning. Extinction recall was predicted only by between-session habituation of SCR across the same night (second night) and by intervening REM. We conclude that: (1) sleep augments between-session habituation, as does morning testing; (2) extinction recall is predicted by concurrent between-session habituation; and (3) both phenomena may be influenced by sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1443-1458
Number of pages16
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Extinction
  • Habituation
  • Orienting
  • Sleep
  • Startle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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