On today’s Medkit we explore the efficiency of learning in your sleep, delve into futuristic sex toys and finally understand what goes on with songs that get stuck in your head.
What is the deal with songs that get stuck in your head?
Well, my friends, the culprits seem to be earworms. An earworm is a piece of music that repeats through your mind long after the music has stopped playing.
When your brain hears a segment of a familiar song, your auditory cortex automatically fills in the rest of the song — essentially your brain keeps “singing” long after the song has ended .
Our brain naturally needs to fill in the gaps in a song’s rhythm. This is called a “cognitive itch” or “brain itch” if you will. Songs that get stuck in your head are particularly proficient at causing a cognitive itch.
And as well all know, the only way to deal with songs that get stuck in your head is to repeat the song over and over in your mind.
Unfortunately, since our brain does not actually fill out the entirety of the song on its own, it will continue to hold a loop until the information void is filled and satisfied within the auditory cortex.
Now while 99% of us have had to deal with songs that get stuck in your head at least once in our lives, women, musicians and people who are tired, neurotic or stressed are more sensitive to earworm attacks.
As for what types of songs that get stuck in your head, it is often songs that have a catchy and repetitive lyrics, upbeat and simple; or a surprise factor such as an unusual rhythm or an extra beat. Essentially the same factors that contribute to making a popular song.
The Male Masturbation Cup Mouth
It is universally agreed upon that the oral cavity has 3 main functions mastication, pronunciation and aesthetics. However there is a 4th function, that is often left out of textbooks and intellectual seminaries : a sexual function.
While this function is considered taboo, it is constantly practised and a focal point of our sexual behaviour for centuries.
Kuang-Yi Ku is a practising dentist as well as a new media artist that is currently working on designing the Male Masturbation Cup Mouth as he calls it. Or, using more practical words, an orthodontic retainer that is designed to enhance the pleasure received by men during oral sex.
This innovative form of a sex toy is made by modifying an orthodontic retainer that is custom made for each client.
The upper palate of the retainer is covered with soft denture reline material, which simulates real soft tissue and creates a bumpy, ridged surface.
Kuang-Yi Ku is actually trying to take things a step forward and use tissue-engineering technology in order for the retainer’s the raised surface to have a closer resemblance to the actual oral tissue.
The goal ist that during oral sex, the back and forth contact with the raised surface of the retainer would enhance the physical pleasure of the act.
You can access more information on this project here.
Using sleep learning techniques research shows that it is possible to enhance our recall and reinforce existing memories, essentially boosting our memory and ability to learn.
There are three main components to learning and memorising: consolidation, acquisition, and recall. Acquisition is the act of being exposed to new information; consolidation implies stabilising new information into long-term memory; while recall is a process through which we access stored information or memory.
Consolidation of information occurs during slow wave sleep and it is an essential part of the learning process.
During one research two groups were given a list of foreign words to memorise at 10 pm, before going to sleep. One group was directed to go to sleep immediately, while the other was kept awake. Over the next few hours, both groups then listened to an audio of the words they learned, and some new ones.
Researchers woke up the 2 groups at 2 am and tested the participants on the number of words they could remember.
The group that had the audio with the words playing during their slow wave sleep recalled more of the words that they had learned than the group that was kept awake.
The new words that were played while they were asleep were not recalled by the participants.
In another similar study, neuroscientists found that slow-wave sleep can affect your ability to learn to play a song.
Interestingly enough, in both studies, participants EEG scans observed emerging theta brain waves during the period of time in which the tapes played . Theta waves emerge during periods of learning and are normally observed only during waking states. This observation suggests that the participants were indeed learning during the experiment.
While learning something new while we sleep might still be unknown territory , there is no denying the fact that consolidating our knowledge during sleep is possible and highly effective.
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