Cognitive Science: An Introduction/Dreaming

IntroductionEdit

A dream is a sequence of thoughts, images and/or feelings that pass through your mind during sleep. Dreams are fictional and a vision or idea that is created in your imagination. Although dreams may not always be retained, you do in fact dream every time you sleep.[1]

Sleep and DreamingEdit

Dreaming occurs in the states of REM (Rapid Eye Movements) sleep and NREM(non-Rapid Eye Movements). There comes a difference between the two states such as with REM sleep is brought with Rapid Eye Movements, muscle atonia(muscles are quieted), and the usual dream. NREM sleep is where most of your sleep occurs with 75% of our sleep happening in this state. Dreams in NREM tend to be short, hard to remember, dull, and undreamlike. [2]

Sometimes with dreaming, there comes interference with the world. Very often as this happens to many, things that you dream of occur, such as dreaming you have to urinate, but in real life you actually have to urinate. There are also examples that you may relate to and its when you are sleeping you feel that your teeth are falling out and this is due to grinding of the teeth (70% of people do this while sleeping).

REM v.s NREM sleep: REM = Rapid Eye Movements, dreams, and muscle atonia. NREM = Non- Rapid Eye Movements, dreams are short, dull, and not easy to remember.


The Brain and Recalling DreamsEdit

Like always, while dreaming your brain is very active. [3] It is always sending information forward and the DLPFC(prefrontal cortex involved with executive function) is deactivated, which is the reason as to why we struggle to retain what our dreams were like after we wake up. We do not notice what is weird during dreams and we just accept it as it is.

The reason why we have trouble recalling our dreams has many reasons to it. To explain, we sometimes don't really pay attention to our dreams and we are physically not able to. Other ways we find it difficult to commemorate our dreams is our brains numero-chemicals during sleep are very contrasting from when we are awake. So with this, it affects us to remember our memory upon waking up.

If we do not transfer our memory from the dream from short-term to long-term memory we will instantly forget most of it as soon as our eyes open up. The dream seemingly disappears.[4]

Many times this may happen, as people say there was always more to their dream but they could just not remember it all. We can be thankful we can retain some of our dreams as animals and infants do not report dreams for obvious reasons. Dreams are easier to remember when they are very unusual or odd in a sense. If the dream is something that is not part of your typical dreams, this will create you to remember it more easily.

There are ways people can remember their dreams if they follow certain steps:

  1. Ask people what their dreams are like.
  2. Ask people to keep a dream diary and to record the dreams when they wake up.
  3. If you wake people up during REM sleep, during many parts of the night and get reports. This is scientifically noticed as the best way possible.

Lucid Dreaming is when you know you are dreaming and can control what you are doing such as your actions, which can actually make your dream really interesting! Your eyes are the only muscles you can move while dreaming. [5]

When it comes to dreams and dream recording, science plays a huge role as well into it. Scientist have came into this to be able to help people identify what they are dreaming about. As weird as it sounds, these European scientist in Berlin got a handful of Lucid dreamers and a MRI machine and had these dreamers to notify them when they were Lucid(eye movement). The scientist got a chance to view what was going on in their brain at that particular time and so see the blood and oxygen flow through the brain while the participator was dreaming. They built a database of signals + their meanings which can tell what you are dreaming. [6] Dreams are still up in the air for scientist. There is still so much to learn about dreaming and they will remain unanswered. For know, dreams to scientist are just a big perplexity. [7] Some may say the scientific way remembering dreams may interfere with their privacy but in the end, it gives us a better way to know what we were dreaming instead of it being secrecy.

What Happens In Our Dreams and What Are They Like?Edit

Dreams: Selection Bias - Bizarre dreams are easy remember and are talked about the most because they are unusual. Dreams that are part of your everyday life such as listening to music on the bus, will not be remembered. It is nothing exciting to you. [8]


Well, dreams can be of anything, at anytime, any place and it all depends on what your brain is imagining. This is the neat part about how our mind works.

  1. Dreams tend to be similar to scene shifts. With this, your dream can go from in your own bedroom, to school, then to a house party at night. This correlates with movies. Movies have scene shifts, and so does our brain.
  2. Dreams are narrative. They may not always make sense, due to the fact that is a lot of random things occurring.
  3. Dreams are always in first person mode. (looking out your own eyes)
  4. Our dreams are always animated.
  5. Dreams are usually not ridiculous, but when they are, you will for sure remember it upon waking up.

[9]

Dreams NOT like?: Dreams are never like films, visual images, recent situations in your own social life, or anything that has happen pre-sleep will rarely correlate with your dream. Recent "episodic and salient memories are barley assimilated in our dreams. [10]

Final Scope on DreamingEdit

A philosopher by the name of Antti Revonsuo created a theory called Threat Simulation Theory.[11] He says that the major function of dreaming is to practice dealing with threats that were common in our ancestral environments. Essentially, threats we had to deal with 200,000 thousand years ago are the types of dreams we dream of. These can be fires, social struggles, primal dangers. We also tend to dream of playing, as what our ancestral environment did. Kids like to be chased, scared, play fight and TST is a subset of play.

It is believed that animal dreams are very high with kids and decline with age, Negative dreams occur twice as often as positive ones. Another notion of Revonsuo's theory is that Westerners dream of things we never experience, and that people react relevantly to dreams threats 94% of the time.

Sometimes when you are dreaming you have the sensation that you are awake but you cannot move. This is called Sleep Paralysis and it occurs in between sleep and awake. You have sensations of chest pressure, muscle atonia, and hallucinations. Sleep paralysis can occur at multiple times. It can occur when you are falling asleep or when you are waking up. (Hypnagogic). [12] When you begin to fall asleep your brain makes your muscles relaxed as you enter NREM sleep.(muscle atonia) Sleep Paralysis is when you atonia occurs while you are awake. You will be aware that you are experiencing Sleep Paralysis when you are unable to talk and or move your arms, legs, head and overall whole body. You are not being choked or anything and are still breathing normally. These "hallucinations" only occur for minutes or even seconds, and concludes when someone is around you, speaks to you , or touches you. It really all depends on the person and Sleep paralysis can occur once in your whole lifetime or several times in a month. This is very common in the teen years or early 20s and is at no medical risk. [13]

AIM(Activation/Information Flow/Mode of IP)Edit

  1. Activation - How active your brian is; When you're dreaming in Rapid Eye Movement Sleep your brain is operating.
  2. Information Flow - Sensory Input vs. Internal fictive Input
  3. Mode of Information Processing - Aminergic-chollinergic neuromodulation (chemical brain level aspect). [14]

AIM model is measured by "A" and "I" being readily obtained in both humans and animals and "M" can only be measured directly in animals. These three dimensional models have three major claims to them: Firstly, the first claim says that "Aim proposes that conscious states are in large part determined by three independent processes which are, brain activation ("A"), origin of inputs ("I"), and cholinergic neuromodulators("M")." Second claim says its proposes that the universe of the brain mind states and can in fact be built with the above axes A,I,M. The last claim tells us the AIM model while stable / reproducible mental states reflect the brain, it identifies that brain-mind states as alert wake or vivd REM sleep dreaming. [15] It predicts that "A" can reflect how the mind can measure information in the brain, which is measured at "I" and OR mode of processing "M". This model shows that during the course of brian states, NREM/REM, is that the brain is always changing. [16] There is support for the Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis which are dreams caused by emotions. You are frightened, then your mind comes up with something frightening to support and make sense to your emotions. Dream emotion has been seen to shape dreams not vice versa. Dreams that create you to have anxiety in your dream will often go from one anxiety scene to the other.[17]

Dreams and Waking States: People who have no dream imagery (visual anoneria) tend to also have a waking deficit in imagining memories(Visual irreminiscense) There are ways to train your dreams as odd as it sounds. Steps such as reality checks and see if you're in the real world. Best way to make sure the dream is real or not is to look at the text. In dreams, texts change. So what you can do is look at different signs around and see if it changes but make sure to look twice to see if it changes. Another thing you can do is look at clocks twice and see if that also changes.


SummaryEdit

Dreaming is a very unique experience we encounter every night when we hit the sheets. Although sometimes we may not know it is happening and or if we do, we forget upon waking up, it is something that is part of life. There are many ways we can keep an idea of our dreams by keeping a dream diary, to be woken up multiple times during the night to report your dreams or to use science and technology to know what you are dreaming about. Just remember, in the end it is just your imagination and even if it so bizarre, it is fictional.

Study Questions Answers
One characterization of REM sleep is? Rapid Eye Movements
Lucid Dreaming is when ___. When you know you're dreaming and can control it.
Who came up with the theory TST? Antti Revonsuo
Name one good example of a way to keep track of your dreams? Keeping a diary.
Sleep Paralysis is when ___? You feel awake, but you can not move.
Dreams are NEVER animated. True or False? FALSE
Dreams are NOT like recent pre-sleep behaviour. True or False? TRUE
TST stands for? Threat Simulation Theory
75% of our sleep occurs in? Non- Rapid Eye Movment
  1. Dream. 2016. In Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved May 3, 2016, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dream
  2. Hobson, J. A., Pace-Schott, E. F., & Stickgold, R. (2000). Dreaming and the brain: toward a cognitive neuroscience of conscious states. Behavioral and brain sciences, 23(06), 804-805.
  3. Hobson, J. A., Pace-Schott, E. F., & Stickgold, R. (2000). Dreaming and the brain: toward a cognitive neuroscience of conscious states. Behavioral and brain sciences, 23(06), 826.
  4. Blagrove, M. (n.d.). The Naked Scientists. Retrieved May 03, 2016, from http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/questions/question/2032/
  5. Hobson, J. A., Pace-Schott, E. F., & Stickgold, R. (2000). Dreaming and the brain: toward a cognitive neuroscience of conscious states. Behavioral and brain sciences, 23(06), 962.
  6. Turner, R. (n.d.). Scientists Measure Dream Content with The Help of Lucid Dreamers. Retrieved May 05, 2016, from http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/scientists-measure-dream-content-with-help-of-lucid-dreamers.html
  7. Breus, D. M. (n.d.). How Do Scientists Study Dreams? Retrieved May 05, 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-michael-j-breus/dream-research_b_7306396.html.
  8. Hobson, J. A., Pace-Schott, E. F., & Stickgold, R. (2000). Dreaming and the brain: toward a cognitive neuroscience of conscious states. Behavioral and brain sciences, 23(06), 825,927,1081.
  9. Hobson, J. A., Pace-Schott, E. F., & Stickgold, R. (2000). Dreaming and the brain: toward a cognitive neuroscience of conscious states. Behavioral and brain sciences, 23(06), 1020.
  10. Hobson, J. A., Pace-Schott, E. F., & Stickgold, R. (2000). Dreaming and the brain: toward a cognitive neuroscience of conscious states. Behavioral and brain sciences, 23(06), 806.
  11. Hobson, J. A., Pace-Schott, E. F., & Stickgold, R. (2000). Dreaming and the brain: toward a cognitive neuroscience of conscious states. Behavioral and brain sciences, 23(06), 910,1076.
  12. Sleep Paralysis Symptoms, Treatment, and Causes. (n.d.). Retrieved May 05, 2016, from http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-paralysis.
  13. Sleep Paralysis – Overview & Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved May 05, 2016, from http://www.sleepeducation.org/sleep-disorders-by-category/parasomnias/sleep-paralysis/overview-facts.
  14. Hobson, J. A., Pace-Schott, E. F., & Stickgold, R. (2000). Dreaming and the brain: toward a cognitive neuroscience of conscious states. Behavioral and brain sciences, 23(06), 821,283.
  15. Hobson, J. A., Pace-Schott, E. F., & Stickgold, R. (2000). Dreaming and the brain: toward a cognitive neuroscience of conscious states. Behavioral and brain sciences, 23(06), 832.
  16. Voss, U., Holzmann, R., Tuin, I., & Hobson, J. A. (n.d.). Lucid Dreaming: A State of Consciousness with Features of Both Waking and Non-Lucid Dreaming. Retrieved May 05, 2016, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2737577/.
  17. Hobson, J. A., Pace-Schott, E. F., & Stickgold, R. (2000). Dreaming and the brain: toward a cognitive neuroscience of conscious states. Behavioral and brain sciences, 23(06), 825,964.