Though sleep scientists have long ago disproved the notion that we can learn in our sleep, that by no means that the learning process comes to a stop. Though the idea of setting ourselves to listen to a book on audiotape as we sleep will not mean that we have consumed, understood and learned the content, a recent study has shown that simple learning or classification tasks can continue even once we are asleep.
The study was a project led by Sid Kouider of Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Cambridge. What they found is that simple, automated tasks such as classifying words into different categories can continue even after the subject has fallen asleep. What this means, according to the conclusions published in the journal Current Biology is that there are certain areas of the human brain that will continue to function and behave in the same way regardless of whether we are awake or asleep. This may lead to new understanding of the way that the brain works, as well as new possibilities for enhancing learning. Continue reading