Memory Enhancement Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1193 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Psychology

¶ … Wagner, U., Gais, S., Haider, H., Verleger, R., & Born, J. (2004). Sleep inspires insight. Nature,

Research area

The notion of insight is difficult to quantify but psychologists have attempted to do so for many years. Anecdotally, it has been suggested that many great insights have been arrived at by great thinkers by 'sleeping on it.' There is also biological evidence to support the notion that this cliche, in fact, may be true. Both human and animal studies support the idea that the neural representations of tasks performed while awake become reactivated during sleep. The evidence suggests that sleep consolidates and restructures memory.

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Understanding how people and animals learn can be very useful in terms of creating a supportive environment for knowledge acquisition. This is particularly true in regards to sleep because we are becoming an increasingly sleep-deprived society. 24/7 entertainment and work commitments increasingly cause people to forego sleep; students are particularly notorious for attempting to coast by on only one or two hours of sleep when they have exams. If critical insights and connections are formed during sleep, people could be depriving themselves of very important sources of learning. Sixty-six subjects were tested, ages 18-31 and the same numbers of males and females were present in both the experimental and two control groups.

Independent variables

In the experiment, the independent variable was the ability of the research subjects to sleep while being subjected to a Number Reduction Task (NRT). After being trained to manipulate number task blocks, different groups of subjects were either allowed to sleep for eight hours during the night; to remain awake for eight hours during the night; or spent eight hours during the day awake.

Dependent variable

TOPIC: Term Paper on Memory Enhancement Assignment

The dependent variable of the experiment was the subjects' performance upon the NRT.

Hypothesis

The hypothesis was that sleep would improve performance on the NRT.

The experimental procedure

Test subjects were first trained in the protocol of the NRT, which involved remembering strings of numbers in a particular pattern. The NRT was selected to specifically test the possibility of sleep producing insight because of the types of cognitive skills tested by the instrument. The subjects are given eight numbers and two simple rules to produce a final solution to the string. As well as repetition producing speed, there is also a hidden rule which can substantially enhance speed, a product of insight. The time at which the subjects intuited this hidden rule could be determined precisely because it allowed the subjects to cut short the sequencing required to produce a response.

Results

Subjects in the sleep group showed substantively better performance than either of the groups in the 'wakefulness' categories. This confirmed the hypothesis that sleep was an enhancement to insight. No difference was noted between the two control groups: i.e., the daytime wakefulness group and the nocturnal wakefulness group. The critical component of the experience which enhanced learning and insight was sleep.

Implications for cognition research: How are these findings relevant to everyday life?

Given the increasingly sleep-deprived society we live in, the findings of this study are extremely relevant to everyday life. First and foremost, it can affect how school is designed for students. Many high schools begin very early in the day. This does not take into consideration students' schedules, which often require them to stay up late to study and work if they do extracurricular activities afterschool. Realistically speaking, most students also socialize a great deal at night. This means that students are losing a number of critical sleep hours on a daily basis, hours during which… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Memory Enhancement.  (2014, November 24).  Retrieved October 24, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/memory-enhancement/7519701

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"Memory Enhancement."  24 November 2014.  Web.  24 October 2021. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/memory-enhancement/7519701>.

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"Memory Enhancement."  Essaytown.com.  November 24, 2014.  Accessed October 24, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/memory-enhancement/7519701.