Working with researchers from the University of Tubingen, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig have discovered that babies of the age from 9 to 16 months remember the names of objects better if they had a short nap.
And only after sleeping can they transfer learned names to similar new objects. The infant brain thus forms general categories during sleep, converting experience into knowledge.
The researchers also showed that the formation of categories is closely related to a typical rhythmic activity of the sleeping brain called sleep spindles: Infants with high sleep spindle activity are particularly good at generalising their experiences and developing new knowledge while sleeping.
Sleep means much more than just relaxation for our brain. The flow of information from the sensory organs is largely cut off while we sleep, but many regions of the brain are especially active.
Most brain researchers today believe that the sleeping brain retrieves recent experiences, thereby consolidating new knowledge and integrating it into the existing memory by strengthening, re-linking or even dismantling neuronal connections. This means that sleep is indispensable for memory.
The analysis of brain activity showed that the infants had learned the names of the individual objects during the training session, irrespective of their age.
The situation with categorisation, however, was different: At the end of the training session, they were unable to assign new objects to the names of similar objects which they had heard several times.


Latest News from Lifestyle News Desk