Scientific American – Dreams


Where are the images and ideas from dreams located in the brain, and is there any way to capture them?: Scientific American.

This article grabbed my attention because dreams have always fascinated me.  Mine confuse me, amaze me, and  sometimes terrify me, but the overwhelming question I’ve always had is this: Where does my brain come up with this stuff?

Sadly, the article had no information that meant anything to me; rather, it offered merely a biological explanation.  That does nothing to help me figure out how my brain comes up with my dreams.  Grr.  I did find a few comments in the article that did pique my interest, however.

#1:    “Interestingly, regions of the frontal cortex involved in thought and judgment while we are awake remain relatively calm throughout REM sleep, possibly accounting for the bizarre and illogical content of some dreams.”

(What a relief.  So when something’s chasing me in my dream and I blast it with some imaginary weapon, it doesn’t indicate that I’m a violent person with an affinity for live target practice! *whew*)

The part of this article that creeped me out dealt with the second part of the question: “is there any way to capture” dreams:

#2:    “Established techniques are not powerful enough to document dreams, but a newer method may enable a breakthrough. Recently neuroscientists have implanted single electrodes in the cortex to record the activity of single neurons believed to be associated with a single thought or image. One day such implanted electrodes might let us log and play back our thoughts and dreams.” 

Granted, I’m no neuroscientist, but I’m also no android.  I don’t know why someone would allow anybody, scientist or otherwise, to physically implant electrodes into their BRAINS, but I certainly will not be a possible candidate!  That’s only the first thing that should scare the living daylights out of anybody reading this article.

The second thing that made me jump out of my chair when I read this was, by implanting these electrodes, they are able to record thoughts and images.  WHAT?!?!?!?!?  Why does this sound so much like a lobotomy?  Or like Hitler experimenting on/torturing “unsavory” people in the most inhumane ways imaginable?

Why would ANYBODY want ANYONE to have the ability to record their thoughts??  Or voluntarily allow someone to stick foreign objects on their gray matter?  I understand the appeal of being able to play back your dreams while conscious so they can be dissected and interpreted, but…maybe I watched too many science fiction movies as a kid, but the entire idea screams “BAD BAD BAD IDEA!” to this – my – brain of admittedly limited capacity.

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4 Comments

  1. Those images, ideas, emotions and sensations we experience in that twilight of life each night are mine! 🙂 The subconscious is at work in many ways, thank you God. Way back in 4000 BC or so He used dreams to influence behavior of world leaders that is documented in the Bible. Even provided Prophets to interpret said dreams. It is my belief the same is in flight even now, although not openly documented, that on a spiritual side there is more going on behind the current of ones mind than we may ever know.

    That second point is spooky for certain. The current mind set (no pun intended) of we need more ‘big brother’ support of our lives folds right into this tasteless idea of extracting or inserting info into my already pooped brain.

    I think it is time to go sleep on it.

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