A new study suggests that a resting brain is prime to learn.
Why is it so hard to remember even things we don’t want to forget? The problem, suggests a growing body of research, may be that we’re thinking about them too much in the first place. Popular wisdom once held that a mind at rest was like an engine idling — not much going on under the hood. To glean insights into how the brain worked, scientists would study only volunteers in action, measuring their physiological or biochemical responses as they completed specific mental tasks. But more recently, thanks in large part to the proliferation of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which precisely maps brain activity based on changes in blood-oxygen levels, neuroscientists have found that important activity in the brain — related in particular to memory and learning — may occur when it is at rest. – From Time