Perturbation of the Default Patterns by Experience
Sleep is the default state of the brain in that it develops as a self-organized or spontaneous state. Sleep shares numerous features with autonomous early brain development. It has been conjectured that sleep may serve to cement or consolidate memories by replaying details of the waking experience. Initially, this service of sleep was contributed exclusively to REM sleep and its dream content. Recent experiments stress the primary importance of slow-wave sleep and other “offline” states in the consolidation process. Extensive or life-long stereotypic experience, such as meditation, athletic, and other skills can lead to quantitatively measurable alternation of oscillatory patterns in the relevant cortical representations. Without supervised training, the brain does not develop a sense of real-world relationships. It is the three-dimensional layout of the skeletal muscle system that provides the real-world metric to the sensorium by triggering oscillations in the thalamocortical system at critical times of brain development.
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