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Learn as you sleep

18-09-2012

People have been trying to find easy ways to study since they began studying. Every teenager has developed some system of study that they think will save them time, though these are almost always total failures that end up taking more time than simply studying properly.

Now however, it seems that there might be a way to study while you sleep, which sounds like virtually everyone’s dream come true. Before you shove your text book under your pillow, you might want to hear how far along the research is.

A study published in Nature Neuroscience has focused on smell as a method for learning while asleep. They found that if particular odours were linked to musical tones during sleep people would start sniffing when those tones were played later on. This sounds a bit like Pavlov’s dogs, with people being conditioned to sniff when music triggers their response.

While this hardly sounds like the dreams of most college students coming to reality, the research is in early days and these findings show that the brain is capable of learning whilst it is asleep, meaning that they will be able to develop methods for sleep learning.

The smell conditioning is not exciting in itself but it does hold promise for future methods.


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