A recent study conducted by Yukiyasu Kamitani and his team at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories has proven that scientists can access information about our dreams by using EEGs and neuroimaging technologies. Kamitani says: “This unique opportunity to study people’s dreams allows us to learn more about the brain’s activity while sleeping and find the purpose of dreaming.” The process of learning information about someone’s dreams consists of several stages:
1. The scientists scan the brains of the subject using neuroimaging. Mean while they record the brain waves using EEG.
2. The subjects were awoken as soon as the brain waves associated with sleep were detected.
3. The scientists asked the participants questions about their dream and asked them to go to sleep again.
4. The scientists extracted key words from over 200 dream reports and divided them in 20 categories Words like car, computer, male, female were very common.
5. They selected photos which display the category and scanned the subjects’ brains while they were viewing the photos.
6. The scientists compared the results during sleep with the results which were recorded while observing the photos.
7. The team of scientists analyzed several brains areas which are responsible for visual processing.
Based on the gathered information, the scientists were able to predict if any of the categories would be present in a dream. Another interesting fact that they learned is that the brain activity in the higher order brain regions could be used to predict the contents of a dream. This research and the results from it were presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.