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Good news: you can learn while you sleep.

Scientists have discovered evidence that it's possible to learn new information while sound asleep. In research published in the Aug. 26, 2012 issue of Nature Neuroscience, 55 volunteers were enclosed in a comfortable, odor-proof room and repeatedly exposed to a soft bell tone linked with a particular odor--such as the pleasant scent of shampoo, or the unpleasant odor of rotting fish. Earlier studies have found that people tend to sniff strongly when inhaling a pleasant odor, but shallowly when inhaling an unpleasant scent. The current study found that when subjects awakened after their sleeplearning sessions, they unconsciously responded to bell tones that had been associated with pleasant scents by inhaling deeply, and switched to shallow breathing when they heard a tone associated with an unpleasant odor--even though no odors were present. These results suggest that the participants had learned to associate the sounds and odors while sound asleep.


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Title Annotation:NEWSBRIEFS
Publication:Mind, Mood & Memory
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2012
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