People can enhance existing skills while they are asleep,
according to new research from the Northwestern University in the
The study is the latest piece of research to suggest that memories
can be reactivated during sleep and a person's storage of them is
strengthened in the process.
Researchers asked participants to learn how to play two
artificially generated musical tunes, before presenting one of the
melodies while the participants took a 90-minute nap.
When they awoke and played again, they made fewer errors when
recreating the melody that had been performed while they were
"We also found that electrophysiological signals during sleep
correlated with the extent to which memory improved," said the
university's James Antony, lead author of the study.
"These signals may thus be measuring the brain events that produce
memory improvement during sleep."
The idea of learning a foreign language while asleep has long been
a popular concept, but many researchers have dismissed this notion
of 'sleep-learning' as a myth.
Posted by Michael Ewing