Dreams and Dreaming (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Dreaming had long been thought to occur largely during rapid eye-movement REM sleep, a period of slumber involving fast brain activity similar to that when awake, but dreams have also been reported to occur during non-REM sleep, leaving scientists scratching their heads as to the hallmark of dreaming. In addition the team found that dreaming about faces was linked to increased high-frequency activity in the region of the brain involved in face recognition, with dreams involving spatial perception, movement and thinking similarly linked to regions of the brain that handle such tasks when awake.
Experts have hailed the significance of the research, saying it could help to solve the conundrum of what dreams are for, and even the nature of human consciousness. Writing in the journal Nature Neuroscience , Siclari and colleagues from the US, Switzerland and Italy, reveal how they carried out a series of experiments involving 46 participants, each of whom had their brain activity recorded while they slept by electroencephalogram EEG — a noninvasive technique that involved placing up to electrodes on the scalp and face to monitor the number and size of brainwaves of different speeds.
While the experiments probed different aspects of the puzzle, all involved participants being woken at various points throughout the night and asked to report whether they had been dreaming. If the participants had been dreaming, they were asked how long they thought it had lasted and whether they could remember anything about their dream, such as whether it involved faces, movement or thinking, or whether it was instead a vivid, sensory experience.
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The result held regardless of whether the dream was remembered or not and whether it occurred during REM or non-REM sleep. Further, the team identified the region of the brain which appears to be important in remembering what a dream was about, finding that this recall was linked toan increase in high-frequency activity towards the front of the brain.
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A similar pattern of activity was seen in the hot zone and beyond for dreams during REM sleep. The upshot is that dreaming is rooted in the same changes in brain activity regardless of the type of sleep.
Using their findings, the team discovered that they were able to predict whether participants had been dreaming when asleep. The authors say the study could help shed light on the nature of consciousness, revealing what happens in the brain during sleep when we switch from being unconscious to having conscious experiences. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.
But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming.
I feel as if I've come to a place I never thought I'd have to come to. And I don't know how I got here. It's a strange place. It's a place where a little harmless dreaming and then some sleepy, early-morning talk has led me into considerations of death and annihilation.
No one tires of dreaming, because to dream is to forget, and forgetting does not weigh on us, it is a dreamless sleep throughout which we remain awake. In dreams I have achieved everything. I was flying past the stars on silver wings," Matilda said. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.
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Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic. Never stop fighting.
Never stop dreaming. The champagne was non-alcoholic. You didn't notice, and laughed at my jokes anyway.
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