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Scientists Can Predict the Contents of Your Dreams, Here’s How

Apr 11, 2017 06:10 AM EDT
Certain patterns in brain activity during sleep could be used to determine the contents of a dream.
(Photo : VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

A team of international scientists claim that they found a pattern in brain activity that can potentially be used to predict the contents of a person's dream.

Their discovery, described in a paper published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, showed that certain regions in the back of the brain become very active when a person is having a dream. These brain activities could then be used to determine whether the dream included a face or movement.

"[It is] a proof for the fact that dreaming really is an experience that occurs during sleep, because many researchers up until now have suggested that it is just something you invent when you wake up," said Francesca Siclari, a researcher at the Center for Research and Investigation in Sleep at Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland and co-author of the research, in a report from The Guardian.

For the study, the researchers monitored the electrical activity in the brain of 32 volunteers while they sleep using a technique called high-density electroencephalography. The participants were woken up at different times throughout the night and were asked whether they had been dreaming and what their dreams were about.

The researchers observed a decrease in low-frequency activity and increase in high-frequency activity at the back of the brain during a dream. By using these patterns in brain activity, the researchers can tell if a person is dreaming or not with 90 percent certainty.

Additionally, increased activities in certain areas of the brain might also reveal something about a person's dream. The researchers noted an increased activity in regions of the brain associated with facial recognition when a dream included faces. Meanwhile, same brain activity can be found in regions involved in the perception of movement when the dream involved a sense of movement.

In a report from National Public Radio, Siclari commented that there is "a very close correspondence [between] brain areas that are active when we dream about things compared to brain activities that are active when we see or perceive things during wakefulness."

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