A visual paired associate learning (vPAL) paradigm to study memory consolidation during sleep

Most research on human declarative memory and its consolidation during sleep uses exhaustive learning of words. We created the visual paired associate learning (vPAL) paradigm, in which participants memorise images of celebrities and animals in an ecological manner. We found that a daytime nap improved the recognition of these celebrities compared to identical intervals of wakefulness. High-density EEG during naps further revealed a relationship between sleep spindle density and maintained ability to recognize celebrities. This entirely image-based paradigm opens new avenues for future research on sleep and memory consolidation