Sunday, December 11, 2011

Brain stimulation induces unconscious learning

Scientists have found a way to make people learn things unconsciously. By analysing the brain of participants that were learning a visual task, they discovered that the corresponding brain patterns can be used to learn things automatically. Researchers from Boston University artificially induced the required patterns in the brains of those participating in the study, which made them learn the required task without actually seeing the visual task. Neither were they aware of the fact that they learned something.
To scan the brain, the scientists used a technique called fMRI, which can be used to assess which parts of the brain are active during a certain activity. They found that, when learning something that requires visual input, patterns are created in a part of the brain that is used for decoding visual information. In addition, they discovered how the brain builds up images, that aid us in the learning process.

During the artificial learning process, participants were able to see whether their brain patterns matched the desired form. The scientists determined the desired pattern by analysing the activity during conscious learning of a task. This way, it was possible to repeat the required pattern without actually consciously learning a task, by artificially setting the brain to a state of learning.

After the artificial stimulation, it was found that participants learned something without them actually being aware of it. It also showed that the visual task itself does not need to be present for it to be learned. This was proven by assessing the capabilities of the participants after the artificial stimulation, in which the scientists showed that skills were improved even though

With this method, scientists proved it's possible to learn things with just repeating the required brain patterns. That way, we do not need to be aware, or even have to be in the presence of the task that is to be learned. This paves the way for more efficient learning, and perhaps the science fiction of learning during your sleep has just become a little bit closer to reality. The scientists also hope to use the technique to extend our knowledge on how the brain facilitates learning, and to treat certain brain diseases.


  1. Very interesting, a bit scary though. Is the original article available on the internet?

  2. Yes, you can find it here:

    I see I forgot to add it to my article :)