Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Learn Dutch in your sleep

30.06.2014

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.

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 Björn 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 Björn 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.

(*) Thomas Schreiner and Björn Rasch (2014). Boosting Vocabulary Learning by Verbal Cueing During Sleep. Cerebral Cortex online: doi:10.1093/cercor/bhu139
(Journalists can obtain the article from the SNSF as a PDF file by sending an e-mail to: com@snf.ch)

Contact
Prof Björn Rasch
Cognitive Biopsychology and Methods
Department of Psychology
University of Fribourg
Tel. +41 26 300 76 37
E-mail: bjoern.rasch@unifr.ch

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.snf.ch/en/researchinFocus/newsroom/Pages/news-140630-press-release-le...

Media - Abteilung Kommunikation | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Cortex Dutch Learn Playing activation conditions sleeping spontaneously

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Streamlining accelerated computing for industry

PyFR code combines high accuracy with flexibility to resolve unsteady turbulence problems

Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...

Im Focus: X-ray optics on a chip

Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.

In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...

Im Focus: Piggyback battery for microchips: TU Graz researchers develop new battery concept

Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.

Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...

Im Focus: UCI physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature

Light particle could be key to understanding dark matter in universe

Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...

Im Focus: Wi-fi from lasers

White light from lasers demonstrates data speeds of up to 2 GB/s

A nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light has been developed by KAUST researchers.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

A week of excellence: 22 of the world’s best computer scientists and mathematicians in Heidelberg

12.08.2016 | Event News

Towards the connected, automated and electrified automobiles: AMAA conference in Brussels

02.08.2016 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2016: 7th Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games

29.07.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Lehigh engineer discovers a high-speed nano-avalanche

24.08.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Streamlining accelerated computing for industry

24.08.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Recommended blood pressure targets for diabetes are being challenged

24.08.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>