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 Post subject: Scientist measure dream content
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:07 am 
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The ability to dream is a fascinating aspect of the human mind. However, how the images and emotions that we experience so intensively when we dream form in our heads remains a mystery. Up to now it has not been possible to measure dream content. Max Planck scientists working with colleagues from the Charité hospital in Berlin have now succeeded, for the first time, in analysing the activity of the brain during dreaming.
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They were able to do this with the help of lucid dreamers, i.e. people who become aware of their dreaming state and are able to alter the content of their dreams. The scientists measured that the brain activity during the dreamed motion matched the one observed during a real executed movement in a state of wakefulness.

The research is published in the journal Current Biology.

Methods like functional magnetic resonance imaging have enabled scientists to visualise and identify the precise spatial location of brain activity during sleep. However, up to now, researchers have not been able to analyse specific brain activity associated with dream content, as measured brain activity can only be traced back to a specific dream if the precise temporal coincidence of the dream content and measurement is known. Whether a person is dreaming is something that could only be reported by the individual himself.

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, the Charité hospital in Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig availed of the ability of lucid dreamers to dream consciously for their research. Lucid dreamers were asked to become aware of their dream while sleeping in a magnetic resonance scanner and to report this "lucid" state to the researchers by means of eye movements. They were then asked to voluntarily "dream" that they were repeatedly clenching first their right fist and then their left one for ten seconds.

This enabled the scientists to measure the entry into REM sleep -- a phase in which dreams are perceived particularly intensively -- with the help of the subject's electroencephalogram (EEG) and to detect the beginning of a lucid phase. The brain activity measured from this time onwards corresponded with the arranged "dream" involving the fist clenching. A region in the sensorimotor cortex of the brain, which is responsible for the execution of movements, was actually activated during the dream. This is directly comparable with the brain activity that arises when the hand is moved while the person is awake. Even if the lucid dreamer just imagines the hand movement while awake, the sensorimotor cortex reacts in a similar way.

The coincidence of the brain activity measured during dreaming and the conscious action shows that dream content can be measured. "With this combination of sleep EEGs, imaging methods and lucid dreamers, we can measure not only simple movements during sleep but also the activity patterns in the brain during visual dream perceptions," says Martin Dresler, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry.

The researchers were able to confirm the data obtained using MR imaging in another subject using a different technology. With the help of near-infrared spectroscopy, they also observed increased activity in a region of the brain that plays an important role in the planning of movements. "Our dreams are therefore not a 'sleep cinema' in which we merely observe an event passively, but involve activity in the regions of the brain that are relevant to the dream content," explains Michael Czisch, research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry. ... 113626.htm

 Post subject: Re: Scientist measure dream content
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:38 am 
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Ah yes! I'm familiar with this study and how amazing and creepy it is that scientists are decoding such a mystery! It's a whole other realm of consciousness and I think it's as real as waking life. I mean, I like to think that dreams are your higher consciousness communicating what your parallel/past/future lives are experiencing in comparison to the one that this particular 3rd dimensional body is currently engaged in. What will we find if we can simply look into someones mind while they sleep? Imagine the crazy warfare we could wage if we figured out how to control that higher reality? It would be like a cross between Inception and Source Code- oh my. Dreaming is a very psychic gift, if the whole population knew it to be the tool that it is, I think we could see a lot of amazing changes in humanity in the coming years. If it becomes technology then there will be no hope for us as a species, I think too much decoding will take the soul out of it. The brilliant part of this so far is that is PROVES that lucid dreaming is real, not that anyone was arguing that it wasn't, just people who think that dreams are wishy washy and uncontrollable can now look at evidence that strongly states the dream state is it's own consciousness, and one that people can actively participate in. It's just amazing = )
What if when people die in their sleep their higher consciousness is just deciding to move into a new realm of existence? Like it's a choice you make in your dream to just leave this world and go be a part of another? I think a person waking up with insomnia would be the perfect candidate to host a foreign consciousness.. just a crazy thought I have sometimes...

~In Lak'ech~

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