The dream of every student, from grade school to grad school, is the ability to learn while you sleep. Think about all those hours you spend on your mattress… If those could be combined with learning a skill, the global GPA would skyrocket.
So far this has only been a day dream of science fiction enthusiasts, men and women hoping beyond hope that one day they could utter Neo’s prophetic words: “I know Kung-Fu.”
This week a group of Swiss psychologists stepped one foot closer to the Matrix.
In a study published in Cerebral Cortex, authored by the Swiss National Science Foundation, researchers proved that basic language skills can be transferred during sleep.
The psychologists set up an experiment with 60 German-speaking students. The students were taught a slew of Dutch words at ten o’clock at night. Half the group was then allowed to go to bed. While they slept, the words were played back to them. The other group was kept up and continued to review the new vocabulary.
At 2 A.M. the sleeping group was woken and tested against the sleep-deprived team.
The sleep group scored considerably higher on word recognition, even though it had been four hours since their fully conscious brain had heard the new Dutch words.
Some may say this test only shows the negative impact that sleep depravation has on learning. But others, including a handful of Swiss scientists, believe it is a step towards Zion.
“I can only show you the door…”