Scientists May Soon Be Able to 'Record' Dreams

Brain activity research could be applied to sleeping subjects
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2010 10:14 AM CDT
Scientists may soon be able to tell what this woman is dreaming about.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – Sounds like something out of a movie, but it's real: Someday, scientists may be able to "record" your dreams. Research published in the journal Nature explains that it is already possible to record higher-level brain activity, and the same methods could be applied to dreams—though there is still a long way to go, the BBC reports. Scientists found that certain neurons are associated with objects or concepts in each of our brains—when you think about "Marilyn Monroe," a specific neuron lights up.

By showing their subjects images ranging from Bill Clinton to the Eiffel Tower, they've been able to built a database for each patient. Assuming a subject is thinking about a topic that's included in the database, scientists should be able to "read" his or her mind; the trick is to build up a database large enough that dreams could effectively be understood by using the same process while people are sleeping. One other obstacle: Currently, to monitor individual neurons, subjects need to have electrodes surgically implanted in their brains (those participating in the study had already had them as part of brain seizure treatment); sensor technology will need to develop to a point where this isn't required.

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