Friday, July 6, 2012

Learn while sleeping

According to a recent article in, a new study by Northwestern University researchers indicates that, “…depending on what we hear during the night, it is indeed possible to reinforce existing memories and enhance our recall after we wake up.”

Notice the words “enhance our recall” instead of “learn something totally new” like trigonometry or a foreign language. “The critical difference is that our research shows that memory is strengthened for something you’ve already learned,” said Paul J. Reber, a psychologist at Northwestern and co-author of the study, in a press release. “Rather than learning something new in your sleep, we’re talking about enhancing an existing memory by re-activating information recently acquired.”

So why is that important for brain tumor survivors? I suspect, and I’m sure somebody will correct me, that some of us have trouble retaining newly learned information, like a new foreign language words, and that there’s a clue in this research on how to help us with that.

And here’s a link to the original article, which costs $$, in nature neuroscience:

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