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We can learn new information when we sleep

Let’s get this out of the way first: no, you cannot play an audiobook under your pillow and wake up as a genius. No, we’re not a step closer to Inception.

That being said, there’s an interesting new study showing that people can learn new information when they sleep. Earlier work tells us that we can certainly strengthen existing memories when we slumber, but actually adding new information is different. And retaining that information when we wake up, even if we have no actual awareness of what we learned, is just plain cool.

I wrote about the new study for The Scientist. Head on over.

Image by Alessandro Zangrilli

4 thoughts on “We can learn new information when we sleep

  1. An interesting find. Since our brains solidify, in our sleep, knowledge we acquired during or waking hours and that this passes as a dogma. Here, learning while sleeping seems to suggest the possibility that an opposite mechanism can also take place.

    Stories of solving equations in our sleep when preparing for math tests can probably be familiar to many of us and I suppose can indicate that knowledge solidification is in progress. If we associate smells to stuff we are studying by day and then in the night during our sleep find a way to inhale one of these fragrances can’t we potentially trigger subject-guided solidification of information ?. Sounds like an Idea, a bit crazy though !

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