The true interpretation of dreams

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A team of Japanese scientists interpreted accurately 60 percent of the dreams of three volunteers underwent brain scans, published the journal Science.

dream world

dream world

That achievement is considered a step forward in the longstanding aspiration read dreams, a possibility that Yukiyasu Kamitani, professor of Computational Neuroscience Laboratories ATR in Kyoto, Japan, considered more than possible. “I have a firm belief that decoding can dream, at least for some particular aspects of these, so I’m not surprised a lot of results, but I am thrilled, “said the researcher. Experts volunteers scanned the brains of sleeping and waking asked what dreamed, and found that the images seen could be classified into categories correlated with the information yielded MRIs.  After repeating the experiment, the researchers were able to guess the general theme of the dream of the participants with an accuracy of 60 percent. 

The next step is to study whether brain activity can be used to decrypt other aspects of dreams, and emotions that are experienced during sleep. experiment was repeated more than 200 times and each image view from bronze statues to keys, was no matter how surreal annotated were. Researchers recorded the results in a database, where grouped objects seen in dreams visually similar categories: for example, hotel, home and building fell into the category of structures. with such data scientists identified specific patterns of brain activity associated with visual images, and from now analyze deeper stages of sleep, when it is believed that the most vivid dreams occur.  in the future, to investigate whether the scanners could decipher impressions sleep, and emotions, smells, colors and physical sensations.

Sigmund Freud, father of psychoanalysis

Sigmund Freud, father of psychoanalysis

Dreams have stimulated human imagination like few things, perhaps because any theory about them is virtually irrefutable. Posts divination of the future for some, internal reverb and other world according to ordinary enigmatic narratives, dreams seem exactly the kind of subjective experience that will always remain hidden, inaccessible to public scrutiny and impervious to empirical science. Big mistake. Neuroscience is now just one step to read dreams.

If you have not already been given, because Yukiyasu Kamitani and colleagues at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratory in Tokyo have developed a kind of dictionary that translates the brain activity of human volunteers during sleep-the familiar map of active red hills and green valleys that generates silent MRI-another very different language but we find it much closer and easier to interpret: the sequence of images that the subject was dreaming at that moment.

Myths about dreams should be, at bottom, the same myopia that confuses us to reflect on the self, consciousness or thought. We are physiologically unable to think that thinking is a thing , a choreographed sequence of neural activation can be detected and measured with current imaging technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). And lie it may seem, dreams are also a thing , something other than the waking state but with many parallels with him.

When the subject gets to sleep and the computer records your brain activity, scientists will wake up and ask how I was dreaming, and so 200 times

As described in the journal Science , Kamitani and colleagues have decided to focus on only three volunteers-or maybe he just got three, but they have squeezed with Japanese thoroughness. The subject was introduced into the MRI tube thundering at three hours per session and within ten days as a volunteer, despite the above, does sleep and the computer records your brain activity, scientists awaken abruptly and asked how I was dreaming, and so 200 times.

An example of one of the dreams described by volunteers is: “From the sky I saw something like a bronze statue, a large bronze statue that was on a small hill, down the hill and had houses, streets and trees of the form normal “. The idea of ​​the experiment is to find consistent correlations between this jargon-or rather between the elements of the gibberish, like the statue or the hill-and activity patterns in the visual cortex, the posterior region of the brain that normally processes the images from the outside world.

And its success has been remarkable. After training their algorithms in this way, with 200 or more maps to each volunteer, the system was able to predict the dream imagery with 60% accuracy. That is, the activation patterns are seen during sleep MRI mean -three-five times what the subject was dreaming subjectively at the time, or at least a second later said he dreamed. Embodied dreams.

Until yesterday, the ability to read dreams was just science fiction series B – “Star Trek the best”, as discussed in Science Harvard neuroscientist Robert Stickgold, but the issue has just jump to the nonfiction shelf.Tokyo researchers draw attention to possible breakthroughs in the treatment of insomnia and other ailments of the mind arising from their discoveries. But now that we will be able to read the dreams, we must ask ourselves if we want to read them or not, and if not why not.

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