Author Archive

Can you Sleep Your Way to Becoming Mozart?

May 4th, 2014 6 comments


Musicians are credited with an acute ability to memorize lengthy pieces of music and then reproduce them with grace and beauty.  But how do they do it? How do they remember every single note and every single rest so perfectly?  Many studies in the past have investigated the role of memory in learning.  They have shown that, even after practice and rehearsal, memory does not stop consolidating, even if we are not consciously aware of this happening.  Consolidation is the process in which the brain gathers all the information you are practicing or rehearsing, packs it together, and sends it to the long-term memory.  This means that even after we stop actively trying to practice something, our brains keep on working to rehearse the information and store it in our memory for the long haul. Research has found that memory consolidation usually happens on larger scales during sleep.  However, many studies have also found that a factor that interferes with memory consolidation is learning multiple novel tasks.  Interference is where one process you engage in disrupts the consolidation of another process.  For example, you may learn how to drive a boat, but then have to learn how to drive a car, but the instructions you received when learning to drive a boat may get in the way of you learning new rules for driving a car.  Interference is a big problem for consolidation because it confuses your brain so that it doesn’t know which information to retain in its memory vault. Researchers found that learning a second novel task after a previous one would interfere with the consolidation of the original task, even after sleep. Allen’s study investigated to what extent sleep had an effect on the consolidation of memory for a target, musical task, if two other tasks were also learned in the same training session.

Read more…

Categories: Memory Tags: ,