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Can the Brain Take In New Information when Asleep?

  1. Oct 19, 2009 #1
    Hello everyone. I have become very interested in how the brain works recently. I know that in sleep, your brain is basically going through all of the information that it has obtained, and sorts through it (decides what is/is not important, and strengthens/weakens those connections).


    Can you take in new information when asleep, or is your brain just sorting through what it already knows?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 19, 2009 #2


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    Gold Member

    It most certainly can. Have you never had sights, sounds, smells or vibrations from reality intrude on your dreams?
  4. Oct 19, 2009 #3


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    Gold Member

    Yes, but it's almost like it goes right through you.

    If you fall asleep listening to a book on tape you will not remember any of it when you wake up. You might however have a weird dream related to something in the book.
  5. Oct 20, 2009 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    If you fall asleep listening to a book on tape your ears will hurt when you wake up.

    I remember reading about psychological experiments done about learning while sleeping. They have not produced new teaching methods, so obviously our brains are not wired to learn when asleep, although I recall some information about data being sorted and stored during night. But that was data acquired during a day.
  6. Oct 27, 2009 #5
    Cool. Thanks for the reply guys!

    David, but if you might have a weird dream about the book you were listening to, then doesn't that mean that you are sort of learning something new?

    I see that we are not wired for learning when we are sleeping, but maybe we can still learn, but just very inefficiently?
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