Lusha Zhu's Lab & Jie Shi's Lab: 'Promoting subjective preferences in simple economic choices during nap' published on eLife




Sleep is known to benefit consolidation of memories, especially those of motivational relevance. Yet, it remains largely unknown the extent to which sleep influences reward-associated behavior, in particular, whether and how sleep modulates reward evaluation that critically underlies value-based decisions. Here, we show that neural processing during sleep can selectively bias preferences in simple economic choices when the sleeper is stimulated by covert, reward-associated cues. Specifically, presenting the spoken name of a familiar, valued snack item during midday nap significantly improves the preference for that item relative to items not externally cued. The cueing-specific preference enhancement is sleep-dependent and can be predicted by cue-induced neurophysiological signals at the subject and item level. Computational modeling further suggests that sleep cueing accelerates evidence accumulation for cued options during the post-sleep choice process in a manner consistent with the preference shift. These findings suggest that neurocognitive processing during sleep contributes to the fine-tuning of subjective preferences in a flexible, selective manner.


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