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VOA慢速英语:睡眠期间是否可以进行语言学习?

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2019年02月27日

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Can Language Learning Happen During Sleep?

睡眠期间是否可以进行语言学习?

A new study suggests some language learning can take place during sleep.

一项新的研究表明睡眠期间也能学习语言。

Researchers from Switzerland's University of Bern say they discovered people were able to learn new language words during deep levels of sleep. Results of the study recently appeared in the publication Current Biology.

瑞士伯尔尼大学的研究人员表示,他们发现人们在深度睡眠期间能够学习新语言。该研究结果最近发表在《当代生物学》杂志上。

Sleeping hours are generally considered unproductive time. But several studies have suggested some learning activity can happen. Studies involving mice provided evidence that sleep learning is possible in the brain of mammals.

睡眠时间通常被认为是非生产时间,但是一些研究表明这期间也能进行学习活动。小白鼠的研究提供了证据,证明睡眠学习在哺乳动物的大脑中是可能实现的。

Other human studies, the Swiss researchers said, found that simple learning through sounds may be possible during sleep. But they added that "complex verbal learning" has not yet been demonstrated.

瑞士研究人员表示,其它的人类研究发现,也许能够在睡眠期间通过声音进行简单的学习。但是他们补充说,复杂的语言学习尚未得到证实。

Much of the earlier research found that memories made when people were awake were reinforced and strengthened during sleep. This supported the idea that information learned while awake is replayed and deeply embedded in the sleeping brain.

许多早期研究发现,人们在清醒时生成的记忆在睡眠期间得到了巩固加强。这也证实清醒时获得的信息,在睡眠期间被回放并深深植入到大脑中。

The researchers theorized that, if replay during sleep improves the storage of information that is learned while awake, the processing and storage of new information should also be possible during sleep.

研究人员推测,如果睡眠期间的回放改善了清醒时所获信息的存储,那么在睡眠期间应该也可以处理和储存新的信息。

The research group was led by Katharina Henke, a professor at the University of Bern and founder of the school's Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory. The researchers carried out experiments on a group of young German-speaking men and women.

该研究小组由伯尔尼大学教授以及该校认知、学习和记忆中心创始人凯瑟琳娜·亨克(Katharina Henke)领导。研究人员对一组说德语的青年进行了实验。

The experiments centered on periods of deep sleep called "up-states." They identified these slow-wave peaks as the best moments for sleep-learning.

该实验集中在深度睡眠期间,也就是所谓的上升状态期间。他们认为这些慢波峰值点是睡眠学习的最佳时刻。

During normal sleep, human brain cells are commonly active for a short period of time before they enter a state of brief inactivity, the researchers said. The two states are continuously changing.

研究人员表示,在正常睡眠期间,人类脑细胞在进入短暂不活跃状态之前,通常会处于短时间的活跃状态。这两种状态不断变化。

The researchers observed individuals in a controlled environment during brief periods of sleep. They recorded brain activity as pairs of words were played for the study subjects. One word in the pair was a real German word. The other was a made-up foreign word.

研究人员观察了在可控环境中处于短暂睡眠期间的实验个体。他们给研究对象播放了成组的单词,同时记录了大脑活动。单词组中其中一个是真正的德语单词,另一个是编造的单词。

For later identification purposes, the German words chosen were things clearly larger or smaller than a shoebox.

为了随后的识别目的,被选中的这些德语单词都是明显比鞋盒大或者小的物体。

Each word pair was played four times, with the order of the words changed each time. The researchers said the word pairs were played at a rhythm that is similar to actual brain activity during deep sleep.

每组单词播放四次,单词播放顺序每次都有所变化。研究人员表示,这些单词组的播放节奏跟深度睡眠期间的实际大脑活动相似。

The goal was to create a lasting memory link between the false word and the German word that individuals could identify when awake.

目的是在这些假单词和德语单词之间建立一种持久的记忆联系,让实验个体在清醒时能够识别出来。

When the subjects woke, they were presented with the false language words – both by sight and sound. They were then asked to guess whether the false word played during sleep represented an object smaller or larger than a shoebox.

当实验对象清醒时,他们-同时通过视觉和听觉接触到了这些虚假的单词。然后要求他们猜测在睡眠期间播放的这些假单词代表比鞋盒更大还是更小的物体。

During this part of the experiment, some of the subjects had their brain activity recorded by magnetic imaging technology. This was meant to measure brain activity when the subjects were giving their answers to the questions.

在这部分实验中,一些受试者的大脑活动被通过核磁共振成像技术记录了下来。这是为了测量受试者在回答这些问题时的大脑活动。

Results of the study found that a majority of subjects gave more correct answers about the sleep-learned words than would be expected if they had only guessed at random.

研究结果发现,大多数受试者在回答有关睡眠学习单词时的正确率都超过了如果是随机猜测的情况。

The researchers said they measured increased signals affecting a part of the brain known as the hippocampus. This brain structure is very important for building relational memory during non-sleep periods. The researchers said memory was best for word pairs presented during slow-wave peaks during sleep.

研究人员表示,他们测量到影响大脑海马体部分的信号不断加大。海马体这种大脑结构对于在非睡眠期间建立关系记忆非常重要。研究人员表示,单词组记忆最佳点出现在睡眠期间的慢波峰值点。

The study suggests that memory formation in sleep appears to be caused by the same brain structures that support vocabulary learning while awake.

该研究表明,睡眠中的记忆形成似乎是由清醒期间支持词汇学习的相同大脑结构所引起的。

The researchers say more studies are needed to support their findings. However, the experiments do provide new evidence that memories can be formed and vocabulary learning can take place in both conscious and unconscious states.

研究人员称还需要进行更多研究来支持他们的研究结果。然而,这些实验确实提供了新的证据,表明在有意识和无意识状态下,都可以形成记忆并进行词汇学习。

I'm Bryan Lynn.

布莱恩·琳恩报道。

A new study suggests some language learning can take place during sleep.

Researchers from Switzerland’s University of Bern say they discovered people were able to learn new language words during deep levels of sleep. Results of the study recently appeared in the publication Current Biology.

Sleeping hours are generally considered unproductive time. But several studies have suggested some learning activity can happen. Studies involving mice provided evidence that sleep learning is possible in the brain of mammals.

Other human studies, the Swiss researchers said, found that simple learning through sounds may be possible during sleep. But they added that “complex verbal learning” has not yet been demonstrated.

Much of the earlier research found that memories made when people were awake were reinforced and strengthened during sleep. This supported the idea that information learned while awake is replayed and deeply embedded in the sleeping brain.

The researchers theorized that, if replay during sleep improves the storage of information that is learned while awake, the processing and storage of new information should also be possible during sleep.

The research group was led by Katharina Henke, a professor at the University of Bern and founder of the school’s Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory. The researchers carried out experiments on a group of young German-speaking men and women.

The experiments centered on periods of deep sleep called “up-states.” They identified these slow-wave peaks as the best moments for sleep-learning.

During normal sleep, human brain cells are commonly active for a short period of time before they enter a state of brief inactivity, the researchers said. The two states are continuously changing.

The researchers observed individuals in a controlled environment during brief periods of sleep. They recorded brain activity as pairs of words were played for the study subjects. One word in the pair was a real German word. The other was a made-up foreign word.

For later identification purposes, the German words chosen were things clearly larger or smaller than a shoebox.

Each word pair was played four times, with the order of the words changed each time. The researchers said the word pairs were played at a rhythm that is similar to actual brain activity during deep sleep.

The goal was to create a lasting memory link between the false word and the German word that individuals could identify when awake.

When the subjects woke, they were presented with the false language words – both by sight and sound. They were then asked to guess whether the false word played during sleep represented an object smaller or larger than a shoebox.

During this part of the experiment, some of the subjects had their brain activity recorded by magnetic imaging technology. This was meant to measure brain activity when the subjects were giving their answers to the questions.

Results of the study found that a majority of subjects gave more correct answers about the sleep-learned words than would be expected if they had only guessed at random.

The researchers said they measured increased signals affecting a part of the brain known as the hippocampus. This brain structure is very important for building relational memory during non-sleep periods. The researchers said memory was best for word pairs presented during slow-wave peaks during sleep.

The study suggests that memory formation in sleep appears to be caused by the same brain structures that support vocabulary learning while awake.

The researchers say more studies are needed to support their findings. However, the experiments do provide new evidence that memories can be formed and vocabulary learning can take place in both conscious and unconscious states.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

_____________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

mammal – n. any animal in which the female gives birth to babies and feeds milk to its young

embed – v. set strongly into something

peak – n. the highest point of level

rhythm – n. regular movement of something

random – adj. done or chosen without any plan or system

conscious – adj. awake and aware of what is going on

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