Special Abilities Manifested During Sleep-Talking Episodes
Various observers have reported that during sleep-talking and/or somnambulism, functioning at a level superior to that of the waking state has been observed for certain abilities. These include improved ability to use a foreign tongue ( Radestock, 1879), to orate, and recite essays and verse ( Spitta, 1873), or other linguistic accomplishments ( Maury, 1878); alleged telepathic and clairvoyant powers ( Burrell, 1904); improved memory and recall of previously experienced items ( Cook, 1937; Maury, 1878; Pinkerton, 1839); improved musicianship such as singing and mimicry of instruments ( Pinkerton, 1839); improved literary creativity ( McGregor, 1964); and improved mathematical ability ( Hadamard, 1954).
According to Hadamard ( 1954), the following amusing event occurred in the life of the mother of L.E. Dickson, the eminent mathematician:
His [ Dickson's] mother and her sister, who, at school, were rivals in geometry, had spent a long and futile evening over a certain problem. During the night, his mother dreamed of it and began developing the solution in a loud and clear voice; her sister, hearing that, arose and took notes. On the following morning in class, she happened to have the right solution which Dickson's mother failed to know [p. 7].
Taken at face value, one might say that the cognitive state associated with this sleep-talking episode was compatible with complicated problem-solving mentation but that the amnesic tendency concurrent with somniloquy prevented retention and recall.