Although dreaming is a common human experience, science has not yet fully explained it. New research shows that individuals in REM sleep can interact and communicate in real time. Only 36 volunteers participated in this work, including four experiments independently conducted in various countries.
For Calderón de la Barca, “Life is a dream, and dream is a dream”. Are the Baroque writers right?One New research Published in the magazine this week Current biology It reveals that a person has the ability to perceive questions and provide them with answers (if they are in a lucid dream), that is, they realize they are dreaming.
Researchers have found that when dreaming, people can follow instructions, perform simple mathematical operations, answer yes or no questions, or distinguish between different sensory stimuli. Moreover, they can respond by eye movement or contraction of facial muscles. They call it “interactive dreams.”
He explained to SINC: “Interactive sleep provides a new way to acquire knowledge about dreams, and has advantages over the retrospective reports that people give after waking up, which are full of distortions and forgetful details. ,” Ken Paller, The main author of this work, an expert from Northwestern University in the United States, and his team tried to communicate with study participants while dreaming.
“we discover REM sleep They can interact in real time and establish communication,” he said. “We also proved that they can understand questions, use working memory (which means the storage and manipulation of information) and well-designed answers. “
Work includes Four experiments Independent of the 36 volunteers In addition to North American institutions, the Sorbonne University in France, Osnabrück University in Germany and Radboud University in the Netherlands also participated in the conference.
He said: “The combination of the results obtained by the four different laboratories using different methods more convincingly proves the authenticity of this two-way communication phenomenon.” Karen Konkoly, A doctoral student at Northwestern University and the first author of the paper.
Konkoly continued: “In this way, we discovered that we can communicate in different ways.” “So, we observed how a person who easily achieves two-way communication suffers from narcolepsy and frequent lucid dreams, and some of the participants People have a lot of experience in this kind of dream, but others don’t.”
As Kristoffer Appel of the German team pointed out to SINC: “This is the first scientific proof of learning new knowledge during sleep: Participants did not know the math task when they fell asleep, but they remembered (some )wake up”.
“Most people might think this is impossible: people wake up when they are asked a question or don’t answer, but they don’t understand any question without misinterpreting it,” Paller added.
Karen Konkoly observes the brain signals of participants in the laboratory when they are asleep. /Picture provided by researcher
Application of this method
Future sleep studies may use these same methods to assess cognitive abilities between sleep and wakefulness: “Through this interactive sleep technology, training of motor and creative skills may also be possible,” Appel points out.
The authors said: “Our goal is similar to finding a way to talk to an astronaut in another world, but in this case, this world is made entirely based on the memory stored in the brain.”
Follow-up experiments conducted by members of these four groups aimed to learn more about the connection between sleep and memory processing, and how the former affects the latter.
“We only need a few examples to convincingly prove that two-way communication is possible, and even among individuals who have little knowledge of lucid dreaming,” Palller concluded.
According to work, this method can be used to help people solve sleep problems outside the laboratory.Of course, the author insists that they are needed Deep learning Prove whether it is really useful for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, nightmares, etc.
Konkoly et al.: Real-time dialogue between experimenter and dreamer during REM sleep. Current biology. https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(21)00059-2
This work was supported by the Mind Science Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the French Research and Development Association (SFRMS), Hans-Mühlenhoff-Stiftung Osnabrück, which was funded by Vidi from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). And COST Action CA18106.