New Study on Dreaming Does Not Find Evidence of Dreams from Brain Waves

A new nighttime experiment known as Dream Catcher did not find signs of dreaming in the brain waves analyzed in the study. Scientists have been studying the neural flickers that occur during the dream state to understand human consciousness better.


Conducting the Dream Catcher Experiment

During the study, scientists looked at the brain wave activity of sleeping participants. They were not able to spot the expected signs of a dreaming brain. The findings of the study have been provided on the research website, bioRxiv, but other scientists are yet to present their reviews of the study.

The current findings are quite different from earlier studies on dreams. In the past, scientists have found evidence of dreams from neural data. All these experiments are designed to explore and expand on the little already known about this area of human consciousness. This could also unlock the mysteries of the human mind.

The brain is able to use data and memories stored within it to create rich experiences of awareness, such as daydreaming, mind-wandering, and even dreams. All this happens without an immediate input of information into the brain. The coauthor of the study, Naotsugu Tsuchiya of Monash University near Melbourne, Australia, believes that studying these brain-induced moments of awareness is the key to understanding the link between the human brain and the mind.

The team of researchers made up of Tsuchiya and his colleagues looked at the data generated from nine participants who slept in the research laboratory. They were each given an electrode cap to wear during their overnight experience. This cap measured brain waves during the entire period, although the team was particularly interested in the stage of non-REM sleep. This is when dreams are in less abundance than in the REM sleep stage. Choosing the non-REM stage of sleep was therefore supposed to make it easier to identify instances of dreams. Because the results found are inconclusive, the researchers are trying to pinpoint what led to a different set of results compared with previous experiments.

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