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Brain can solve tasks in sleep

In dreams, the brain processes what it has learned during the day. How successful it is, it should clear up a computer experiment. From the results even the scientists were surprised.

Amazing events occur in sleep occurs in the brain - including the ability to process the experiences of the day and to solidify. Now, Israeli and American researchers in experiments on spatial learning efforts to find out how well the brain learns in his sleep - and have come to some surprising results.

The 99 study participants could first one hour orientation virtually train their ability: they had to try on the computer as quickly as possible in a three-dimensional maze to reach an endpoint. After nap held half of the subjects one by 90 minutes, the others stayed awake, and they passively employed - for example, by watching videos.
The sleepers were awakened one minute after the onset of a continuous sleep again and then had to describe what they had dreamed. Then they slept on undisturbed and then reported back on their dreams. The watcher had to pause several times during the hour and a half to say what they just went through my head. Five hours after the first practice session at the computer all the participants were re-tested on their speed in the maze.

The surprising result: who dreams of a relationship with the task had experienced before, showed dramatic improvements in the game. The time gained was up to ten times higher than that of the sleepers without the labyrinthbezogene dream work, which only minimally improved. The waking the other hand, stagnated completely, even when they break through the maze task had been thinking of when, Wamsley, the scientists write to Erin from Harvard Medical School in Boston in the journal "Current Biology". Protected content

Dreams of a by-product of processing experience?

With the successful dreamers, the significant improvement was also noted when dreams acted out by a secondary aspect of the computer game. "The dreamer describes many different experiences - listening to the music accompanying the game, a Stuck in a labyrinthine cave with bats, the sight of people at a crossroads," said Wamsley.

The results suggest, according to the researchers point out that our brain is busy during a dream with the processing of new information and educational content. At the same time experience in a wider context are provided - for example, could the labyrinth experience in question may be used, like a person dealing with a lot of information.

"The dreams of brain activity, these seem unconscious to monitor, as a by-product," says co-author Robert Stickgold. There were therefore probably not the dreams that would help improve the performance of a brain, but these are just a sign that some brain regions to new experiences actively processed.

Interestingly, the people who dreamed of the maze task and then were much improved in the second round, have been relatively poorly in the first round. The brain is concerned, presumably during dreaming with the content that dominates is not yet a human being.

Scientists will now repeat their study with longer sleep times in the night. They hope to get out of their experiments finally practical information on how we can improve our ability to learn in a dream and brain power.

mbe / ddp

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