Publication Date

Summer 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Valerie A. Carr


associative memory, consolidation, post-encoding awake quiescence, rest-related consolidation, technology use, wakeful rest

Subject Areas

Psychology; Neurosciences


We often spend breaks in our day by engaging with technological devices. However, literature across several species indicates that resting quietly without engaging in other activities, termed wakeful rest, can be beneficial to memory consolidation, a period following encoding which serves to stabilize memories. Prior research demonstrates that wakeful rest benefits memory for single items. However, the effects of wakeful rest on associative memory, (i.e. memory for associations between stimuli), remain unclear. To elucidate the effects of wakeful rest on associative memory, a study was designed to examine differences in associative memory performance following periods of wakeful rest and game play during the consolidation phase. Using a within-subjects design, 41 young adult participants, aged 18-27 years, (a) encoded a list of word pairs, (b) engaged in one of the consolidation phase tasks, and (c) underwent an associative memory test. The consolidation phase included a digital breathing task which represented the wakeful rest condition and a find-the-difference digital game which represented the distraction condition. Both tasks were presented on a tablet. The entire process was then repeated by encoding a new set of stimuli and engaging in the second consolidation phase task, followed by a final memory test. It was hypothesized that associative memory would be better following wakeful rest than game play. Contrary to this hypothesis however, no differences were found between the two conditions. Further research should be done to clarify the relationship between wakeful rest and consolidation of associative memories.