Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Learn Dutch in your sleep: Listening to lessons while sleeping reinforces memory

Date:
June 30, 2014
Source:
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
Summary:
When you have learned words in another language, it may be worth listening to them again in your sleep. A study has now shown that this method reinforces memory. "Our method is easy to use in daily life and can be adopted by anyone," says the study director.

When you have learned words in another language, it may be worth listening to them again in your sleep. A study funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has now shown that this method reinforces memory.

Related Articles


Reluctant students and sleepyheads take note: a study conducted at the universities of Zurich and Fribourg has shown that German-speaking students are better at remembering the meaning of newly learned Dutch words when they hear the words again in their sleep. "Our method is easy to use in daily life and can be adopted by anyone," says study director and biopsychologist Bjφrn Rasch. However, the results were obtained in strictly controlled laboratory conditions. It remains to be seen whether they can be successfully transferred to everyday situations.

Quiet playback

In their trial, which has been published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, Thomas Schreiner and Bjφrn Rasch asked 60 volunteers to learn pairs of Dutch and German words at ten o'clock in the evening. Half of the volunteers then went to bed. While they slept, some of the Dutch words they had learned before going to bed were played back quietly enough not to awaken them. The remaining volunteers stayed awake to listen to the Dutch words on the playback.

The scientists awoke the sleeping volunteers at two in the morning, then tested everyone's knowledge of the new words a little later. The group that had been asleep were better at remembering the German translations of the Dutch words they had heard in their sleep. The volunteers who had remained awake were unable to remember words they had heard on the playback any better than those they had not.

Reinforcement of spontaneous activation

Schreiner and Rasch believe that their results provide further evidence that sleep helps memory, probably because the sleeping brain spontaneously activates previously learned subject matter. Playing this subject matter back during sleep can reinforce this activation process and thus improve recall. For example, a person who plays a memory card game to the scent of roses, and is then re-exposed to the same scent while asleep, is subsequently better at remembering where a particular card is in the stack, as Rasch was able to show in another study a few years ago.

Schreiner and Rasch have now observed the beneficial effect of sleep on learning foreign words. A certain amount of swotting is still needed, though. "You can only successfully activate words that you have learned before you go to sleep. Playing back words you don't know while you're asleep has no effect," says Schreiner.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. Schreiner, B. Rasch. Boosting Vocabulary Learning by Verbal Cueing During Sleep. Cerebral Cortex, 2014; DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhu139

Cite This Page:

Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). "Learn Dutch in your sleep: Listening to lessons while sleeping reinforces memory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140630093629.htm>.
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). (2014, June 30). Learn Dutch in your sleep: Listening to lessons while sleeping reinforces memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140630093629.htm
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). "Learn Dutch in your sleep: Listening to lessons while sleeping reinforces memory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140630093629.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) — More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) — Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

RightThisMinute (Jan. 23, 2015) — Not only is Kathy seeing her newborn son for the first time, but this is actually the first time she has ever seen a baby. Kathy and her sister, Yvonne, have been legally blind since childhood, but thanks to an amazing new technology, eSight glasses, which gives those who are legally blind the ability to see, she got the chance to see the birth of her son. It&apos;s an incredible moment and an even better story. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins