The study participants had to play a computer game. At the same time, they used a myoelectric interface, with which they moved the cursor, activating certain muscles of the hands. Each movement of the cursor in a given direction was accompanied by a corresponding sound.
At the next stage of the experiment, the subjects played the same game blindfolded, guided by sound prompts.
Afterwards, the participants went for a 90-minute nap. During sleep, the researchers played half of the audio signals to the subjects, thus reactivating their motor memory.
When the subjects woke up, they continued the game. And it turned out that the movements, the sounds of which they listened to during sleep, they get more accurate and faster — the course moved along a shorter route and at the same time fewer muscles were involved.
Thus, the researchers conclude, by finding a way to activate memories of training during sleep, it is possible to accelerate the development of new motor skills. In practice, this approach can be used to improve the methods of rehabilitation of patients after stroke and other neurological diseases.