Friday, 23 Apr, 2010 Science
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Dreams Can Improve Memory and Learning, Researchers Say

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According to researchers, people, who learn a new task, then take a nap and have a dream, are more likely to perform their task much better compared to those who do not sleep and dream.

In their study, scientists asked participants to learn the design of a 3D computer maze in order to find a way out of the maze after a couple of hours. After that, a group of people was asked to take a nap. It was discovered that those who slept and remembered having a dream, were able to find their way to the landmark much faster than those who did not sleep and did not dream.

Scientists consider that the dream represents a sign that some unconscious areas of the brain are working hard in order to process the data regarding a certain task. According to Dr Robert Stickgold of Harvard Medical School, it is possible that dreams show that the unconscious brain is working on the same problem at several levels. Another researcher, Dr Erin Wamsley, considers that the brain works on the things it believes are most important.

The team of researchers considers that it would be possible to take advantage of the phenomenon in order to improve learning and memory.

More information is available here.

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