People Learn While They Sleep, Study Suggests
Considering the enormous class emphasis on memory, I found a recent article regarding a ‘different kind’ of memory, one rooted in sleep. The study mentioned did not identify what kind of memories improve with sleep, but instead focused on how the conscious and unconscious processes of memory are linked, and how much more productive the unconscious version may be. It would seem that it is significantly more.
(See the study abstract here.)
It has been known for a while that while the conscious mind is sleeping, the rest of the brain is working to consolidate and store away the day’s data and experiences. My last psychology teacher always told his students to do a little extra studying right before falling asleep, that the information would then be rolling around in the mind all night, and hopefully have stuck by morning. I would often use this tactic the night before biology tests and end up dreaming of mitosis and mRNA, and then continue mulling over such subjects all through my routine the next morning while still far too groggy for such complex mental processes.
The short article does not actually describe what ‘memory’ they are speaking of in any real way, or offer any sort of definition for us, but perhaps it is this sort of ‘memory’ that they have discovered and are now working to explore.