Learn While Asleep

The scientists from the Weizmann Institute (Israel) say that a person can store information while sleeping.

Woman Sleeping

The fact that sleep is necessary for memory consolidation and, therefore, the ability to learn, is long spoken about. However, there is still no evidence that a person can, for example, remember an audio lecture while sleeping. But there is evidence of our being able to associate sounds and smells after their simultaneous perception during sleep, and these associations affect our behavior in everyday life.

The experiment of the scientists from the Weizmann Institute guided by Noam Sobel involved a group of the volunteers, who had to sleep, while their reaction to sounds, accompanied by pleasant or unpleasant odors, was carefully observed. The reaction was traced using the EEG and measuring the depth of breathing: the volunteers tried not to inhale unpleasant smells (their breathing became shallow), but when they were offered a pleasant odor, they took a deep breath.

Then, when the volunteers woke up, they were again allowed to hear the same sounds from their dream, but without the aromatic accompaniment. The reaction of the participants was the same as while contacting the sounds accompanied by smells in their sleep. The volunteers began to breathe either deeper or more superficial, although they were offered no olfactory stimulus. There arose a strong tie between the sound and the smell in the subconscious.

Further studies showed that the response to sounds and smells was stronger in the fast phase of sleep, but the formation of associative links between them took place during the slow phase.

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