Departmental Colloquia Series: Professor Penny Lewis

The Department of Psychology invites to a lecture by:

Professor Penny Lewis, University of Cardiff

on Thursday 27th February 2020, 15:15 – 16:45.

The title of the lecture is "How sleep builds semantic memories and boosts creativity".

The lecture takes place at CSS 2.0.63, Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 Copenhagen K.

After the lecture the Department invites to a reception at Øster Farimagsgade 2A, 2nd floor, room 03-2-M202, 1353 Copenhagen K.

Faculty, students and others with interest are welcome. 


Creative thought relies on the reorganisation of existing knowledge. Sleep is known to be important for creative thinking, but there is a debate about which sleep stage is most relevant, and why.  I will address this issue by proposing that Rapid Eye Movement sleep, or ‘REM’, and Non-REM sleep facilitate creativity in different ways.  Memory replay mechanisms in Non-REM can abstract rules from corpuses of learned information, while replay in REM may promote novel associations.  I propose that the iterative interleaving of REM and Non-REM across a night boosts the formation of complex knowledge frameworks, and allows these frameworks to be restructured – thus facilitating creative thought. I will also discuss work in which we are using machine learning to identify neural replay during sleep using EEG data.