Scientists Take Steps Toward Dream Reading
The Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry has completed a new study where they take steps toward dream reading. The study shows that dreaming is not an isolated brain function. The research results of thewere released in the Cell Press journal Current Biology and reported in Medical News Today on October 30, 2011.
Dreams have historically been difficult to study. Spontaneous dreaming cannot be controlled and systematically studied since each dream is different. To overcome that obstacle, researchers enlisted the help of lucid dreamers. According to Dreamviews , lucid dreamers are dreamers who become aware that they are dreaming. The lucid dreamers vary in their dream lucidity and their ability to control their dreams.
The researchers scanned the brains of the lucid dreamers while they slept. The dreamers were expected to dream a series of left and right hand movements separated by a series of eye movements when they entered a lucid dream state during the brain scan.
The scans revealed that in the dreamer's brains, the sensorimotor cortex was activated with the dreamed hand movements. The researchers were surprised by the result because the sensorimotor cortex is responsible for the execution of movement. This finding means that dreams are not just a mental process. The dreams appear to operate in a holistic way in the human system, engaging with other parts of the brain.
Martin Dresler of the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry is interested in investigating brain activity at the moment a dreamer becomes lucid.“The lucid dreamer gains insight into a very complex state: sleeping, dreaming, but being consciously aware of the dream state,” he said. “This may inform us about concepts of consciousness.”
Neuroimaging techniques are showing us how interrelated and interactive all parts of the brain are. Perhaps at some future point they will be able to show us more about how our consciousness develops and works.
Image Credit: Spirit Alchemy