Payne’s research focuses on how sleep impacts memory, creativity and the ability to process new ideas — in particular, how new information is processed and transformed by a process known as consolidation, which solidifies memories. Dr. Payne uses two powerful tools to probe memory – sleep and stress. Both provide important mediums for targeting the consolidation process in humans. Dr. Payne combines behavioral, pharmacological and cognitive neuroscientific (EEG, MRI) approaches to investigate these questions. Another line of research examines how disturbances in sleep and stress influence memory consolidation in people with major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder, and how this, in turn, influences psychological functioning.