For those of you interested in what dreams mean, rest easy knowing that scientists are working on that problem?
In the first part of the new study, neuroscientist Yukiyasu Kamitani and colleagues at the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International in Kyoto, Japan monitored three young men as they tried to get some sleep inside an fMRI scanner while the machine monitored their brain activity. The researchers also monitored each volunteer’s brain activity with EEG electrodes, and when they saw an EEG signature indicative of dreaming, they woke him up to ask what he’d been dreaming about.
The folk at Wikipedia have some pondering on dreams too.
I’ve been thinking about what dreams might be in view of my thoughts on free will and the internal simulation that we run in our heads. Some preliminary thoughts are:
- Energy is not free – shutting down the simulation reduces energy consumption while needed for other things.
- Neuro-plasticity of the brain indicates that memory areas are not all permanent so we might need time to move memories to permanent storage
- It appears that storing memories requires reliving them in some way. It would be very freaky to have to relive the last 8 hours in your head to store the memories, so shutting down the simulation probably is useful.
- Nothing the body does is absolutely perfect, so we don’t always remember dreams or perhaps the perfect part is remembering them but not being able to recall this?
- Prophetic dreams don’t seem to happen to many people in the last 2000 years. Don’t worry that they are prognostications.
Anyway, I’m beginning to think about dreams and other processes of the brain and how they fit in that simulation framework.