A model of autonomous interactions between hippocampus and neocortex driving sleep-dependent memory consolidation

Dhairyya Singh, Kenneth A. Norman, Anna C. Schapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


How do we build up our knowledge of the world over time? Many theories of memory formation and consolidation have posited that the hippocampus stores new information, then “teaches” this information to the neocortex over time, especially during sleep. But it is unclear, mechanistically, how this actually works—How are these systems able to interact during periods with virtually no environmental input to accomplish useful learning and shifts in representation? We provide a framework for thinking about this question, with neural network model simulations serving as demonstrations. The model is composed of hippocampus and neocortical areas, which replay memories and interact with one another completely autonomously during simulated sleep. Oscillations are leveraged to support error-driven learning that leads to useful changes in memory representation and behavior. The model has a non–rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stage, where dynamics between the hippocampus and neocortex are tightly coupled, with the hippocampus helping neocortex to reinstate high-fidelity versions of new attractors, and a REM sleep stage, where neocortex is able to more freely explore existing attractors. We find that alternating between NREM and REM sleep stages, which alternately focuses the model’s replay on recent and remote information, facilitates graceful continual learning. We thus provide an account of how the hippocampus and neocortex can interact without any external input during sleep to drive useful new cortical learning and to protect old knowledge as new information is integrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2123432119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number44
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • continual learning
  • neural network model
  • oscillations
  • sleep stages


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