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.
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Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.
- Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
- Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
- "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.
- Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
- There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
- "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.
PAUL RATJE / Contributor
- This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
- UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
- TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.