Credit: Science Blogs
Cracking the riddles that are my dreams is tough work, mainly because my dreams are an erratic, hodge-podge blend of real life experience and fantasy. I once dreamt that I rescued my sister’s friends from an expansive ocean-swimming pool in the Los Angeles hills, but, they were computers?!? To this day, I still feel anxious and worried trying to remember the end of it. When it comes to my dreaming behavior, I can always recall the feeling of the dream, whether it was happy or sad, whether I was excited or disappointed. I can almost never remember the details of the dream itself. They live-on as a foggy blur, unanswerable and directionless.
As luck would have it, I stumbled across an interesting article on dream research being conducted in Japan that has the potential to help me out a bit. The researchers wanted to know if it was possible to “see” the contents of a participant’s dream by observing their brain activity during sleep. Using an fMRI scanner, they woke participants just before entering deep sleep (REM cycle) and asked them to describe their dream (a puppy playing, for instance). After 200 trials, the researchers coded and categorized each reported visual with its corresponding brain activity, i.e. its neural signature. What they discovered was quite remarkable - the neural signature of a visual during sleep activated the same region of the brain while the participant was awake. This enabled the researchers to create a dream detector, if you will, for each participant. 60% of the time their predictions were right! What does this mean for the future? When we can’t remember our dreams, a scientist somewhere will be able to analyze our brain activity and “remember” for us. So, here’s hoping the fog will clear!
Sadly, while science can tell what I dream, it can't explain why my sister's friends were computers yet, darn. In the meantime, I checked out a few common dream meanings via my handy Fortune-Telling Book of Dreams: