Study: Playing of specific sounds during sleep can enhance memory

sleep

According to the findings of a new study by the scientists at Northwestern University, playing of specific sounds help enhance memory as well as learning while an individual sleeps. The scientists opine that specific sounds played while people are sleeping help them remember more of what had been learnt before falling asleep, so much so that it can actually boost their memory and learning ability.

The momentous study, which underlines the benefits of audio approach during sleep, was published online in the Thursday edition of the journal Science.

For the study, the researchers taught 12 young adults to move 50 sound-related pictures to their correct locations on a computer screen. Thereafter, they were asked to take a nap; and, while they slept, 25 of the 50 picture-related sounds were played.

Though none of the participants was aware of the exact sounds being played; it was found, that for the 25 sounds that had been played while they slept, almost all of them remembered the precise computer locations of the related pictures, vis-à-vis the other 25 pictures.

Commenting on the findings, Northwestern professor of psychology Ken Paller said: "Our study showed that our brain works on memories while we sleep, and that this can contribute to our ability to have lasting memories. We also found that sounds presented softly during sleep can influence this phenomenon by functioning as reminders."

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