People ‘may be learning while they’re sleeping’

Washington: Researchers at the Michigan State University have suggested that people may be learning while they’re sleeping – an unconscious form of memory that is still not well understood.

“We speculate that we may be investigating a separate form of memory, distinct from traditional memory systems,” said lead researcher Kimberly Fenn, assistant professor of psychology.

“There is substantial evidence that during sleep, your brain is processing information without your awareness and this ability may contribute to memory in a waking state,” he added.

The results of the study of more than 250 participants indicate that people derive different effects from “sleep memory,” but reinforces the importance of a good night’s sleep.

“Simply improving your sleep could potentially improve your performance in the classroom,” said Fenn.

She said she believes this potential separate memory ability is not being captured by traditional intelligence tests and aptitude tests.

“This is the first step to investigate whether or not this potential new memory construct is related to outcomes such as classroom learning,” she said.

The findings appear in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.


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