The Sleep of Babes

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The life of an infant is certainly one to be envied. They get food, they get unconditional love, and of course they get a luxurious amount of sleep. Now a new study from the University of Arizona shows that these frequent naps are more than just extra ZZZ's. They are actually honing infants' basic abilities to learn about the world around them.

University of Arizona psychologists Rebecca Gomez, Richard Bootzin, and Lynn Nadel found that babies who got a little daytime shut-eye were more likely to exhibit an advanced level of learning, known as abstraction. As they describe in the August issue of Psychological Science, they played recordings of "phrases" from an artificial language to forty-eight 15-month-old infants during a learning session. For example, they repeatedly played phrases like "pel

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