Bibliography - Science - A turning point in dream research

Bibliography – Science – A turning point in dream research

Since man has been dreaming, the phenomenon of dreams has occupied thousands of years. Aristotle, Hippocrates, Plato, Descartes, Freud or Jung pursued the meaning of dreams with the same intensity as the shamans of the Indians or tribes excluded from the world.

But it has always played a prominent role in the arts too, just think of surrealist paintings or dream worlds portrayed in movies (Bunuel, Bergmann, Michel Gondry, Christopher Nolan). Various theories were born for the interpretation of dreams, ranging from strengthening memory to deepening what has been learned. Now a young scientist, Eric Hall, has come up with a new theory.

Scientists’ dream

Eric Hall, a researcher at Tufts University in Boston, and his colleagues research dreams using artificial intelligence, and they recently came up with a strange explanation.

their studies He suggests that our strange dreams help our minds better generalize our daily experiences. Generalization is a cognitive process that consists of abstracting a set of concepts or things, and ignoring details. This generalization helps the brain make comparisons and recognize patterns or differences.

artificial neurons

An artificial neural network is a computer system that simulates the functioning of the human brain. In Hoel’s experiments, the network drew general conclusions from the input data and was then able to apply them to the new data. But the network was “overfitting”, that is, it very comprehensively followed the data set used for learning, mastering not only the essence, but also the details and oddities of the fed data set.

To limit this overreach, the scientists created a kind of chaos between the data using different methods. One way was to accidentally discard certain data. According to Hill, the artificial system has perfectly mapped our brains, and this artificial chaos corresponds to dreams in reality: they are created against the generalized reality to which the brain is accustomed, so that we are ready and uncomfortable.

Normalization vs. Surrealism

Hoel suggests that our brains know a lot about everyday experiences, and to counteract this familiarity, the brain creates surreal dreams.

The strangeness of dreams, the deviation from our real experiences, gives them their biological function.

Hoel also explored in his experiments the most effective way to evoke dreams about something: repetition. When we train a lot in the waking state, the brain in dreams tries to generalize and integrate it into consciousness. The brain, unlike a computer, is always learning new things, even at night, in a subconscious state.

Life is boring sometimes, dreams exist to prevent us from adapting too rigidly to the pattern of the world

Howell says.

(Cover Image: Ute Grabowsky/Photothek/Getty Images)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.