Navigation Links
How sleep aids visual task learning
Date:11/10/2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] As any indignant teacher would scold, students must be awake to learn. But what science is showing with increasing sophistication is how the brain uses sleep for learning as well. At the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego Nov. 10, 2013, Brown University researchers will discuss new research describing the neural mechanism by which the sleeping brain locks in learning of a visual task.

The mounting evidence is that during sleep the brain employs neural oscillations brainwaves of particular frequencies to consolidate learning in specific brain regions. In August, Brown scientists reported in the Journal of Neuroscience that two specific frequencies, fast-sigma and delta, that operated in the supplementary motor area of the brain were directly associated with learning a finger-tapping task akin to typing or playing the piano.

The new results show something similar with a visual task in which 15 volunteers were trained to spot a hidden texture amid an obscuring pattern of lines. It's a bit like an abstracted game of "Where's Waldo" but such training is not merely an academic exercise, said Takeo Watanabe, professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences at Brown.

"Perceptual learning in general has been found to improve the visual ability of patients who have some decline of function due to aging," Watanabe said.

In this case the researchers, led by graduate student Ji Won Bang, devised an experiment to see how sleep may help such training take hold. They measured the brainwaves of the participants during sleep before and the training, and they measured the volunteers' performance on the task before and after.

The researchers saw significant increases in sigma brainwave power after sleep compared to before in the visual cortical area in the occipital lobe of the volunteers' brains.

To ensure they were measuring activity related to learning the task, the researchers purposely put the stimulus of the discrimination task in a particular quadrant of the subjects' field of view. That position corresponds to an anatomically distinct part of the visual cortical area. The team saw that the measured gain in sigma wave power was greater specifically in that trained part of the visual cortical area rather than in the untrained parts.

They also saw that the difference of power increase between trained and untrained regions of the visual cortical area was correlated with each individual's performance improvement on the task.

The results are novel, in large part because the scientists employed a unique blend of measurement technologies including magnetic and electronic encephalography, magnetic resonance imaging and polysomnography to measure the brainwaves in specific brain regions with millimeter and millisecond precision during distinct phases of sleep.

The repeated significance of sigma oscillations, known as sleep spindles, in both the visual task and the motor task may be important in figuring out a broader picture of how the brain consolidates learning during sleep, the researchers said. They did not, however, see the same uptick of delta frequency power that they saw in their study of the motor task.

Neuroscientists believe the two frequency bands play different roles. The sigma frequency is associated with internal workings of a brain region, while delta is associated more with inter-region communication.

"So far we are thinking that the sigma band is used commonly during learning-related jobs, but not necessarily the delta bands," said Yuka Sasaki, associate professor (research) of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences.

With more to learn, both awake and asleep, their studies continue in their sleep lab at Brown.


'/>"/>

Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Warm winters let trees sleep longer
2. UPCI researchers target cell sleep to lower chances of cancer recurrence
3. Penn: New variants at gene linked to kidney disease, sleeping sickness resistance
4. Musicians who learn a new melody demonstrate enhanced skill after a nights sleep
5. New study shows how seals sleep with only half their brain at a time
6. Depression-era drainage ditches emerge as sleeping threat to Cape Cod salt marshes
7. Badger sleeping habits could help target TB control
8. X-ray laser helps slay parasite that causes sleeping sickness
9. Music to the Ears for a Good Nights Sleep?
10. Music to the ears for a good nights sleep?
11. Could poor sleep contribute to symptoms of schizophrenia?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
How sleep aids visual task learning
(Date:5/16/2016)... NEW YORK , May 16, 2016   ... authentication solutions, today announced the opening of an IoT ... to strengthen and expand the development of embedded ... provides an unprecedented level of convenience and security with ... to authenticate one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 First quarter 2016: ... up 966% compared with the first quarter of 2015 ... SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% ... 0.32) Cash flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M ... revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  ,      ... gait biometrics market is expected to grow at ... Gait analysis generates multiple variables such ... compute factors that are not or cannot be ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016  Global demand for enzymes ... through 2020 to $7.2 billion.  This market includes ... cleaning products, biofuel production, animal feed, and other ... and biocatalysts). Food and beverages will remain the ... increasing consumption of products containing enzymes in developing ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Cancer experts from Austria, ... could be a new and helpful biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Surviving Mesothelioma ... read it now. , Biomarkers are components in the blood, tissue or ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... for Amgen, will join the faculty of the University of North Carolina ... professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... discussions on a range of subjects including policies, debt and ... Poloz. Speaking at a lecture to the Canadian ... to the country,s inflation target, which is set by both ... "In certain areas there needs to be ... why not sit down and address strategy together?" ...
Breaking Biology Technology: