Learn While You Sleep?
“New research suggests that memory can be strengthened by listening to recently learned information while taking a nap. The findings are especially appropriate for musicians, as Northwestern University researchers say a way to really learn a new tune is to take a nap with the recently learned melody playing during your sleep. The research grows out of recent evidence that suggests memories can be reactivated during sleep and storage of them can be strengthened in the process.
Researchers say the findings do not imply that you can learn totally new material while you sleep, rather, newly learned material can be reinforced. So, despite the hype, you cannot learn a foreign language while you sleep, said Paul J. Reber, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Northwestern and a co-author of the study. “The critical difference is that our research shows that memory is strengthened for something you’ve already learned,” Reber said. “Rather than learning something new in your sleep, we’re talking about enhancing an existing memory by reactivating information recently acquired.”
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