Dream-A-Vision: Scientists May Have Found A Way To See Our Dreams
April 11, 2013

Dream-A-Vision: Scientists May Have Found A Way To See Our Dreams

I love to dream. As I lie in bed waiting for sleep to take me, I just can’t wait to enter the dream world. And I almost always remember my dreams. In fact, if I do not remember them, I feel a bit weird, like I am missing something. True, I do have nightmares, often, but even those bring me some sense of closer. According to WebMD, dreaming may help with memories, emotions, conflict-resolution, and depression. Dreams may exist to help us solve problems, incorporate memories, and process emotions.

Plus, in my dreams, I might have magical abilities or be traveling in another country or even just have time to myself. In some dreams, I am watching what happens while in others I am the main character, so to speak. Sometimes through dreaming, I am able to experience and be in places that I can’t always do and be in reality. I just really love to dream.

Naturally, sometimes I have dreams about past experiences, memories, and lost friends that leave me feeling a bit nostalgic, but I find myself feeling better even in these. In a second WebMD article, those who did not dream experienced the following:

  • Increased tension
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of coordination
  • Weight gain
  • Tendency to hallucinate

Dreaming is pretty important, but dreams also lack enough understanding in the current scientific world. redOrbit recently reported about a means to finding deeper understanding of dreams and dreaming. In a paper published in the journal Science, researchers, led by Yukiyasu Kamitani, may have found a potential way to decode dreams, which would enable them to predict the content of the visual imagery experienced by the dreamer.

redOrbit explained what the researchers did:

“The team created decoding computer programs based on brain activity measured while study participants were wide awake and looking at certain images. Then, the team asked subjects who were awakened from the early stages of sleep about the dreams they were having before being disturbed.

The researchers used an MRI to monitor brain activity of the participants and polysomnography to record the physical changes that occur during sleep. They compared evidence of brain activity when participants were awake and looking at real images to the brain activity seen while they were dreaming. They were able to reveal that it may be possible to use brain activity patterns to understand something about what a person is dreaming about.”

So, this research could ultimately help scientists and doctors to better understand the function of dreaming pertaining to relevant health issues. Instead of speculation and debate about what dreams do for humans, this research may help us to know the relevance of dreaming to physical, mental, and emotional health.

Now, I do have to admit that I am a little weirded out that perhaps someday scientists and doctors will be able to tap into my dreams. I mean, I love to dream partially because those are just my dreams. I do not have to share that part of my life with anyone or anything unless I absolutely want to. It is just a tad bit freaky to think that people might be able to see what I am dreaming.

However, paranoia aside, I still think the potential for knowledge is worth the experimentation. Obviously, only people who volunteer for dream research should be subject to dream analysis, but to understand why we dream and what they provide is pretty darned cool.

In fact, I think I will go and slip into the dream world now. Nighty-night!

Image Credit: Photos.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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