A new study has shown that sleep helps starlings remember tasks learned throughout the day. While sleep playing a crucial role in helping to recall actions and information from the day before may seem like old news, this research is different.
In this case, researches at the University of Chicago trained 48 starlings to learn two songs, and then memorize them. Without sleep, the birds had difficulty remembering the first song they learned. But, when they slept in between, their ability to perform the songs increased dramatically. The study was then taken a step further, adding more information to the birds’ minds, in an attempt to see whether or not they would forget the tunes they became familiar with the day before. They did not.
Of their results, the researchers said, “These observations demonstrate that sleep consolidation enhances retention of interfering experiences, facilitating daytime learning and the subsequent formation of stable memories.” The research is important because the biological makeup of birds is similar to that of humans.