How to learn a new language while you sleep

Sleep encoding turns out to be a real thing.

Laura Li prepares to take a nap in YeloSpa, in New York, on May 1, 2018, where New Yorkers can pay for a cabin to take a nap, and recharge energy without having to return to their homes. (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
  • While it was believed you cannot learn new information while asleep, a new study in Switzerland makes the case for sleep encoding.
  • 41 native German speakers were introduced to a nonsense word alongside a German word to forge a relationship.
  • When tested while awake, the real word was defined by the nonsense word 10 percent higher than random chance, suggesting a bond was formed while asleep.
Keep reading Show less

What’s the Lumina Prize? You could have the winning idea!

We're unearthing the next big idea in post-high school education. Is it yours?

  • Lumina Foundation is partnering with Big Think to unearth the next large-scale, rapid innovation in post-high school education. Let's lift Americans up the economic ladder and redefine education and training for the new economy.
  • Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Its goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.
  • If you have an idea that could empower learning beyond high school, enter the Lumina Prize. You could win flights and accommodation for two nights in New York City, media training from Big Think's producers and social venture advisors, and the opportunity to film a Big Think video that will be seen by a network of potential investors and an audience of 5.5 million people.
  • Enter the Lumina Prize below.

Are cats jerks? Or are YOU the jerk?

A new study from Oregon State University makes it clear: it's you.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons
  • Researchers discovered that the more attention you give a cat, the more likely they are to return it.
  • Cats are territorial; being in their home environment greatly affects their attitude.
  • The common wisdom that cats are aloof is provably false.
Keep reading Show less

Is cursive writing important to child development?

Legislators push to keep cursive in their schools' curricula, but experts seem split as to whether it's necessary.

Tracy Burns checks her third grade student Nikolai Wilkins' cursive writing during class. (Photo: Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
  • Ohio has joined many other states in reestablishing cursive in their schools' curricula.
  • Research shows the value handwriting has for developing children's fine motor skills and a connection between words and memory.
  • But experts seem split on whether it's a question of print vs. cursive, or cognitive fluency vs. disconnect.
Keep reading Show less