Scientific Reports 7: Paper 41873 (2017)

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DOI:  10.1038/srep41873

Anna Kis1, Sára Szakadát2, Márta Gácsi3,4, Enikő Kovács5, Péter Simor6, Csenge Török1,7, Ferenc Gombos8, Róbert Bódizs2,8, József Topál1

1Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary

2Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary

3MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group, Budapest, Hungary

4Department of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

5Department of Ecology Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Szent István University, Budapest, Hungary

6Department of Cognitive Science, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary

7Institute of Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

8Department of General Psychology, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary


The active role of sleep in memory consolidation is still debated, and due to a large between-species variation, the investigation of a wide range of different animal species (besides humans and laboratory rodents) is necessary. The present study applied a fully non-invasive methodology to study sleep and memory in domestic dogs, a species proven to be a good model of human awake behaviours. Polysomnography recordings performed following a command learning task provide evidence that learning has an effect on dogs’ sleep EEG spectrum. Furthermore, spectral features of the EEG were related to post-sleep performance improvement. Testing an additional group of dogs in the command learning task revealed that sleep or awake activity during the retention interval has both short- and long-term effects. This is the first evidence to show that dogs’ human-analogue social learning skills might be related to sleep-dependent memory consolidation.

Keywords: cognitive neuroscience, consolidation, psychology, sleep