Robert Stickgold

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Robert Stickgold is a full professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. A sleep researcher, his work focuses on the relationship between sleep and learning. His articles in the popular press are intended to illustrate the dangers of sleep deprivation.

Stickgold was born in Chicago. He graduated from Harvard University before attending the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he received his doctorate in biochemistry.[1] He worked with the sleep researcher J. Allan Hobson for many years and has been known to quote Hobson's quip: "The only known function of sleep is to cure sleepiness".[2] Stickgold's research has focused on sleep and cognition, dreaming, and conscious states. He has been a proponent of the role of sleep in memory consolidation.[3] Additional research has focused on dreaming. In one experiment, participants played the computer game Tetris for three days and reported dreaming about falling geometric shapes--a phenomenon now known as the Tetris effect. Even patients with anterograde amnesia, who did not remember playing the game, had similar dreams as normal participants.[4] Similar results were found in another study utilizing the video game Alpine Racer 2. Participants reported dreaming about skiing.[5]

Stickgold lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has four children.


  1. ^ PBS Scientific American Frontiers Bio
  2. ^ Konnikova, Maria (8 July 2015). "The Work We Do While We Sleep". The New Yorker. Retrieved 17 July 2015. The Harvard sleep researcher Robert Stickgold has recalled his former collaborator J. Allan Hobson joking that the only known function of sleep is to cure sleepiness.
  3. ^ Stickgold, R; Walker, MP (June 2007). "Sleep-dependent memory consolidation and reconsolidation". Sleep medicine. 8 (4): 331–43. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2007.03.011. PMC 2680680. PMID 17470412.
  4. ^ Scientific American, Tetris Dreams
  5. ^ The Boston Globe, Analyze This:What sparks our dreams, especially those wacky ones? One man is on the case.

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