Learning Fads: The Simpsons

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In a Simpsons episode from a few years ago, the Simpsons travel to Brazil in hopes of finding a lost orphan. While on the 10+ hour plane trip, Bart sleeps while listening to the Bumble bee man's Spanish tapes. At the end of the flight, he is completely fluent in Spanish; at which point Bart is informed that they in fact speak Portugese in Brazil, and Homer forces Bart to forget every word of it (which he does by hitting himself in the head repeatedly with the tape recorder. This is very different than the way the book portrays learning while sleeping. The way the book puts it "things that sound too good to be true often are" (Linienfield 233). It is later stated that in most of these cases of listening to tapes while sleeping, the subject is woken up, and consciously learns the material. That can be illustrated through the fact (as the book states) that nobody making the claim that these sleeping learning are quick fixes ruled out rival hypotheses. Though I suspect this was merely a joke rather than a major plot point, the writers of the textbook would have made Bart fully aware, or at least showed him drifting off into sleep, and being woken up by Maggie pulling on his ear.
However, new results are coming in that say that we do a bit of learning while dozing off, but not in the way the Simpsons portrays it. A new study states that "A separate form of memory" is operating. By improving our sleep in some ways, we may be able to recall dormant memories, or those we had forgotten. This would better be described as 'sleep recollection' rather than 'sleep learning.'

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This page contains a single entry by jurge058 published on October 23, 2011 10:16 PM.

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