What Dreams May Come

Scientists in Japan have developed methods using MRI scans to read the dreams of subjects. The study was published in the journal Science and it can be found here:

Essentially, the scientist created a repository of various images related to varied brain activity during sleep. They accomplished this by grouping the various images reported by subjects upon waking into categories (e.g. Mercedes under vehicles, dogs under animals) and matched it with specifics brain activity. Following that, they observed brain activity to predict what the subject was dreaming about with an accuracy of 60% in a broad context. That’s not too shabby.

Here is what the scientists had to say:

“We were able to reveal dream content from brain activity during sleep, which was consistent with the subjects’ verbal reports. I had a strong belief that dream decoding should be possible at least for particular aspects of dreaming… I was not very surprised by the results, but excited.”

This is pretty exciting and scary stuff To be honest, it makes me think of science fiction and the possibilities for medical science as this study progresses to more deeper forms of sleep.

What untapped secrets of the brain will such research reveal? Could our dreams become more indicative of our health and our psyche? Could they be invaded and replaced in a way that benefits or harms our well-being? Can our dreams and nightmares be used against us? Will the future paint dreams as some kind of entertainment fix akin to Total Recall? Will we want to abandon a dismal reality and sacrifice our minds to a perpetual voyage upon the seas of sleep? Will they finally be able to tell us what the hell is up with Deja-vu?

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