Many different kinds of memories are improved with sleep.
While a couple of studies have looked at how naps might affect our ability to learn new faces and names, no previous studies have looked at the impact of a full night of sleep in between learning and being tested.
“We found that when participants were given the opportunity to have a full night’s sleep, their ability to correctly identify the name associated with a face – and their confidence in their answers – significantly improved,” explained Jeanne F Duffy, associate neuroscientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).
Participants in the study underwent testing in a controlled environment while staying at BWH’s centre for clinical investigation.
They were shown 20 photos of faces with corresponding names from a database of over 600 colour photos of adult faces and asked to memorise them.
After a 12-hour period, they were then shown the photos again with either a correct or incorrect name.