So far, studies that investigated interference effects of post-learning processes on episodic memory consolidation in humans have used tasks involving only complex and meaningful information. Such tasks require reallocation of general or encoding-specific resources away from consolidation-relevant activities. The possibility that interference can be elicited using a task that heavily taxes our limited brain resources, but has low semantic and hippocampal related long-term memory processing demands, has never been tested. We address this question by investigating whether consolidation could persist in parallel with an active, encoding-irrelevant, minimally semantic task, regardless of its high resource demands for cognitive processing. We distinguish the impact of such a task on consolidation based on whether it engages resources that are: (1) general/executive, or (2) specific/overlapping with the encoding modality. Our experiments compared subsequent memory performance across two post-encoding consolidation periods: quiet wakeful rest and a cognitively demanding n-Back task. Across six different experiments (total N = 176), we carefully manipulated the design of the n-Back task to target general or specific resources engaged in the ongoing consolidation process. In contrast to previous studies that employed interference tasks involving conceptual stimuli and complex processing demands, we did not find any differences between n-Back and rest conditions on memory performance at delayed test, using both recall and recognition tests. Our results indicate that: (1) quiet, wakeful rest is not a necessary prerequisite for episodic memory consolidation; and (2) post-encoding cognitive engagement does not interfere with memory consolidation when task-performance has minimal semantic and hippocampally-based episodic memory processing demands. We discuss our findings with reference to resource and reactivation-led interference theories.
For high contrast imaging systems, the time delay is one of the major limiting factors for the performance of the extreme adaptive optics (AO) sub-system and, in turn, the final contrast. The time delay is due to the finite time needed to measure the incoming disturbance and then apply the correction. By predicting the behavior of the atmospheric disturbance over the time delay we can in principle achieve a better AO performance. Atmospheric turbulence parameters which determine the wavefront phase fluctuations have time-varying behavior. We present a stochastic model for wind speed and model time-variant atmospheric turbulence effects using varying wind speed. We test a low-order, data-driven predictor, the linear minimum mean square error predictor, for a near-infrared AO system under varying conditions. Our results show varying wind can have a significant impact on the performance of wavefront prediction, preventing it from reaching optimal performance. The impact depends on the strength of the wind fluctuations with the greatest loss in expected performance being for high wind speeds.
Context. For high-contrast imaging (HCI) systems, such as VLT/SPHERE, the performance of the system at small angular separations is contaminated by the wind-driven halo in the science image. This halo is a result of the servo-lag error in the adaptive optics (AO) system due to the finite time between measuring the wavefront phase and applying the phase correction. One approach to mitigating the servo-lag error is predictive control. Aims. We aim to estimate and understand the potential on-sky performance that linear data-driven prediction would provide for VLT/SPHERE under various turbulence conditions. Methods. We used a linear minimum mean square error predictor and applied it to 27 different AO telemetry data sets from VLT/SPHERE taken over many nights under various turbulence conditions. We evaluated the performance of the predictor using residual wavefront phase variance as a performance metric. Results. We show that prediction always results in a reduction in the temporal wavefront phase variance compared to the current VLT/SPHERE AO performance. We find an average improvement factor of 5.1 in phase variance for prediction compared to the VLT/SPHERE residuals. When comparing to an idealised VLT/SPHERE, we find an improvement factor of 2.0. Under our 27 different cases, we find the predictor results in a smaller spread of the residual temporal phase variance. Finally, we show there is no benefit to including spatial information in the predictor in contrast to what might have been expected from the frozen flow hypothesis. A purely temporal predictor is best suited for AO on VLT/SPHERE. Conclusions. Linear prediction leads to a significant reduction in phase variance for VLT/SPHERE under a variety of observing conditions and reduces the servo-lag error. Furthermore, prediction improves the reliability of the AO system performance, making it less sensitive to different conditions.
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