Osmosis and Hypnotism in Language Learning

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In the s, some researchers believed that they could teach participants totally new information by playing audio recordings as they slept, and inventors began selling devices based on the idea. Instead these contraptions were actually awakening people.

Literary Devices Part I (Sound) - NY Book Editors

Using EEG on their participants, researchers could tell that the sleep-learners were actually awake something we still do in research today , and this all but ended research into sleep as a cognitive tool. Fifty years later, we now know it is possible to alter memory during sleep, just in a different way than previously expected. The study authors had taught participants the locations of objects on a grid, just like in the game Concentration, and exposed them to the odor of roses as they did so.

Kids Meet a Hypnotist - Kids Meet - HiHo Kids

Next, participants slept in the lab, and the experimenters waited until the deepest stage of sleep slow-wave sleep to once again expose them to the odor. Then when they were awake, the participants were significantly better at remembering where the objects were located.

Sleep-Learning Was a Myth, But You Could Strengthen Memories While You Snooze

This worked only if they had been exposed to the rose odor during learning, and had smelled it during slow-wave sleep. It almost seemed too good to be true. Multiple studies since the initial paper verified the finding, and there were even new variations such as using sound cues instead of odors. At the cognitive neuroscience Paller Lab at Northwestern University where I work, multiple papers have been published demonstrating that neuroscientists can link a single sound to a single object and reactivate it individually.

For example, you could play Concentration and learn that the cat is in the lower left corner, and the tea kettle is in the upper right.

When you learn the cat, you hear a meow, and when you learn the kettle, you hear a whistle. Keep in mind, both of these items were initially learned equally well, showing that the sleep-cueing preferentially helped the cat. This ability to select specific memories to reactivate is called targeted memory reactivation TMR.

Why a Language Immersion Experience in Salamanca is the Best Way to Learn Spanish

My lab believes this replay of the memory allows the brain to strengthen its memory representation, thus leading to better recall. Working with rats, the brain scientists Daniel Bendor and Matthew Wilson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found exactly this expected replay when they administered sound cues related to previous learning. Neuroscientists are now starting to put TMR to work. One recent study from my group operated a lot like the video game Guitar Hero, where the player takes centre stage as the musician.

James Antony, now a postdoc at Princeton University but a graduate student at the time, had participants learn two musical sequences on a keyboard. The songs were composed of four notes, which appeared as falling circles, much like the actual game. After learning both songs equally well, participants took a nap, and Antony cued them with one of the songs. When they were retested after sleep, participants were better at the sleep-cued song than the uncued one. Think of how quickly you could learn a new musical instrument or song, just by reminding your sleeping brain of previous learning!

In a paper , the postdoctoral researcher Laura Batterink from my lab and colleagues found that TMR cueing in combination with REM sleep led to better recall of words that were cued during an afternoon nap. This research seems to point to REM sleep as a beneficial state when cued memories are integrated into preexisting memory networks.

The Early Magnetists

Outstanding questions that we have yet to address include: does this work for foreign-language learning ie, grammar learning , or just learning foreign vocabulary? Could it be used to help maintain memory performance in an ageing population? Does reactivating some memories mean that others are wiped away even more quickly?

Alternatively, TMR might help to boost all aspects of memory consolidation and show cognitive costs only for uncued items. We have some hunches, and new projects to address these questions are cropping up all the time. For an activity that we do for about one-third of our life, there are more questions than answers. Maybe weird Uncle Dorsey and his Poe tapes actually were prescient of the future of sleep research. Subscribe or Give a Gift. Sign up. SmartNews History. History Archaeology.


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World History. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby. As an extension of both of these devices, as you pay attention to the sound of language you may begin to notice that different letters have different sonic characteristics, which can illicit various sensations in the reader. His s oul s wooned s lowly as he heard the s now f alling f aintly through the universe and f aintly f alling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

They do the opposite of what fricatives do, which is to abruptly interrupt the flow of air out of the mouth. P eter P iper p icked a p eck of p ickled p eppers. G o to the g arden and g et that c razy c at away from the rose bushes! Stay tuned until next time when we talk about rhythm, and please feel free to leave any thoughts, questions, or even some of your own examples in the comments!

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So Then, Why Try Hypnosis for Language Learning?

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