How You Can Reinforce Learning While You Sleep
Experimental psychologists have found that memory of learned processes, such as learning to play a specific piece of music, can be activated during sleep and strengthened in the process.
What's the Latest Development?
Researchers at Northwestern University have found that memories of learned processes can be activated during sleep and strengthened in the process. In an experiment, participants learned to play two short musical pieces and then took a nap. While they slept, scientists played one of the tunes that had been practiced, but not the other. "Participants made fewer errors when pressing the keys to produce a melody that had been presented while they slept, compared to the melody not presented." By measuring the brain's electrical activity, scientists ensured the music was played during deep sleep, rather than REM or while dreaming.
What's the Big Idea?
For as long as playback devices have existed, people have dreamt of effortlessly learning a new language while they sleep. Unfortunately, memory strengthening techniques only work for processes you have already learned. "If you were learning how to speak in a foreign language during the day, [however], and then tried to reactivate those memories during sleep, perhaps you might enhance your learning," said Paul J. Reber, associate professor of psychology at Northwestern and a co-author of the study. Scientists are seeking to improve memory storage by understanding how the brain works when you are asleep.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.
- The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
- The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
- People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.
- Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
- Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
- All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.
- Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
- Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
- Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.