Newborns Learn Even While Sleeping

A new study is out this week that looked at the learning processes of infants, and it revealed some interesting information about the role of sleep in learning … at least when it comes to newborns.  The research team at the University of Florida evaluated 26 1- to 2-day-old newborns as they slept.  What they found is that the brain waves of these newborns indicated they were still engaged with the outside world…

“They are better learners, better ‘data sponges’ than we knew,” said psychologist Dana Byrd, who led the study published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Newborn infants’ sleep patterns are quite different to those of older children or adults in that they show more active sleep where heart and breathing rates are very changeable.”

The study has implications for the healthy development of infants. It could be used to pinpoint those whose cognitive progress is hampered, such as those with dyslexia or autism.

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