I was reminded of this particularly brainy A.D. Miles bit from the Invite them Up CD this morning when I saw the following headline:
Scientists measure dream content for the first time: Dreams activate the brain in a similar way to real actions
It’s a particularly bizarre study because it used both FMRIs and Lucid dreamers (“i.e. people who become aware of their dreaming state and are able to alter the content of their dreams.”) which makes it a sci-fi nerd’s wet dream.
Interestingly it seems like the parts of the brain activated while waking or while imagining an action while awake also get activated while dreaming, so when you dream about clenching your fist, “a region in the sensorimotor cortex of the brain, which is responsible for the execution of movements, was actually activated during the dream.”
Particularly creepy was this statement by Martin Dresler, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry.
“With this combination of sleep EEGs, imaging methods and lucid dreamers, we can measure not only simple movements during sleep but also the activity patterns in the brain during visual dream perceptions,”
“Our dreams are therefore not a ‘sleep cinema’ in which we merely observe an event passively, but involve activity in the regions of the brain that are relevant to the dream content,” explains Michael Czisch, research group leader.
This also reminded me of a study a few years ago that could tell when someone was thinking of a hammer or other specific objects. So if you want to know if we’re going to someday live in a world where big brother can read your mind, the answer is: if we make it, probably yes, but chances are it’ll be long after the robots have terminated us all (by robots I mean cars, and by terminated I mean climate change). But in the meantime, we can just watch ourselves have nightmares about it ;)