Dream-Reading Software Unveiled by Researchers

Dennis Faas's picture

A team of researchers in Kyoto, Japan, claim to have developed software capable of reading dreams by analyzing brain activity.

In a recent study, scientists from the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories connected three test subjects to an EEG (electroencephalogram) and had them sleep inside an MRI machine to measure their brain waves during the first few minutes of sleep.

Researchers Build Brain Wave-Image Correlation Database

The participants were then awakened and asked to identify the images seen in their dreams. This practice was repeated 200 times, during which researchers built a database of brain wave image correlations. When all was said and done, the team placed all images into 20 general categories ranging from "books" to "food" to "people".

Further tests were later conducted, only this time when participants were awakened researchers were able to predict what kinds of dreams people had experienced. (In other words, researchers were able to tell that an individual dreamt about a specific person or event based on their brain activity.)

Initial tests showed a 60 per cent accuracy rate, though this eventually increased to 70 per cent.

Surprisingly, the results were found to be most accurate during dreams experienced less than 15 seconds before awakening.

As more time elapsed, the participants seemed to forget what they had been dreaming about, meaning that these individuals were awakened at the first sign of brain activity (rather than waiting for the entire dream sequence to play out). (Source: computerworld.com)

Researchers Successfully 'Decode' Dreams

According to Yukiyasu Kamitani, a senior researcher at the laboratories and head of the study team, "We have concluded that we successfully decoded some kinds of dreams with a distinctively high success rate."

The impact of this development was echoed by Harvard Medical School neurologist Dr. Robert Stickgold, who says he believes that the Kyoto experiment can be considered "the first real demonstration of the brain basis of dream content."

Stickgold went on to say that these recent developments undoubtedly prove that dreams are not "made up" by the dreamer when the individual enters back into a state of consciousness. (Source: theweek.co.uk)

The Kyoto research team hopes to expand their dream database with continued practice, eventually focusing on deeper sleeping patterns that have long been thought to house the most vivid dreams.

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