Some references below are available as complete articles in PDF format. Articles can also be located on-line at Pubmed. Archives of Ophthalmology, Vol.
The field gained momentum inwhen Nathaniel Kleitman and his student Eugene Aserinsky discovered regular cycles.
A further experiment by Kleitman and William C. Dementthen another medical student, demonstrated the particular period of sleep during which electrical brain activity, as measured by an electroencephalograph EEGclosely resembled that of waking, in which the eyes dart about actively.
This kind of sleep became known as rapid eye movement REM sleep, and Kleitman and Dement's experiment found a correlation of 0.
Field of work[ edit ] Research into dreams includes exploration of the mechanisms of dreaming, the influences on dreaming, and disorders linked to dreaming. Work in oneirology overlaps with neurology and can vary from quantifying dreams, to analyzing brain waves during dreaming, to studying the effects of drugs and neurotransmitters on sleeping or dreaming.
Though debate continues about the purpose and origins of dreams, there could be great gains from studying dreams as a function of brain activity. For example, knowledge gained in this area could have implications in the treatment of certain mental illnesses.
Mechanisms of dreaming[ edit ] Dreaming occurs mainly during REM sleepand brain scans recording brain activity have witnessed heavy activity in the limbic system and the amygdala during this period.
Though current research has reversed the myth that dreaming occurs only during REM sleep, it has also shown that the dreams reported in non-rapid eye movement NREM and REM differ qualitatively and quantitatively, suggesting that the mechanisms that control each are different.
In this type of brain stimulation, the dreaming that occurs is a by-product of the process. The brain waves characteristic of dreaming that are observed during REM sleep are the most commonly studied in dream research because most dreaming occurs during REM sleep.
Aserinsky noticed that the sleepers' eyes fluttered beneath their closed eyelids, later using a polygraph machine to record their brain waves during these periods.
In one session, he awakened a subject who was wailing and crying out during REM and confirmed his suspicion that dreaming was occurring. Participant-nonremembered dreams during NREM are normally more mundane in comparison.
During REM sleep, the release of certain neurotransmitters is completely suppressed. As a result, motor neurons are not stimulated, a condition known as REM atonia. This prevents dreams from resulting in dangerous movements of the body.
When REM sleep episodes were timed for their duration and subjects awakened to make reports before major editing or forgetting could take place, it was determined that subjects accurately matched the length of time they judged the dream narrative to occupy with the length of REM sleep that preceded the awakening.
This close correlation of REM sleep and dream experience was the basis of the first series of reports describing the nature of dreaming: Dreams at the end of the night may last typically 15 minutes, although these may be experienced as several distinct stories due to momentary arousals interrupting sleep as the night ends.
This increase in the ability to recall appears to be related to intensification across the night in the vividness of dream imagery, colors and emotions.
The dream story itself in the last REM period is farthest from reality, containing more bizarre elements, and it is these properties, coupled with the increased likelihood of morning waking review to take place, that heighten the chance of recall of the last dream. In summary, a dream, as defined by Bill Domhoff and Adam Schneider, is "a report of a memory of a cognitive experience that happens under the kinds of conditions that are most frequently produced in a state called 'sleep.
Interobject[ edit ] Interobjects, like disjunctive cognitions, are a commonplace bizarreness of dreamlife. Interobjects are a kind of dream condensation that creates a new object that could not occur in waking life.
It may have a vague structure that is described as "something between an X and a y". Hobson  dreamt of "a piece of hardware, something like the lock of a door or perhaps a pair of paint-frozen hinges. Authentic dreams are believed to be the side effect of synaptic efficacy refreshment that occurs without errors.
Illusory dreaming[ edit ] Illusory dreams are defined as dreams that contain impossible, incongruent, or bizarre content and are hypothesized to stem from memory circuits accumulating efficacy errors.
In theory, old memories having undergone synaptic efficacy refreshment multiple times throughout one's lifetime result in accumulating errors that manifest as illusory dreams when stimulated. Qualities of illusory dreaming have been linked to delusions observed in mental disorders.
Influences on dreaming[ edit ] One aspect of dreaming studied is the capability to externally influence the contents of dreams with various stimuli. One such successful connection was made to the olfactoryinfluencing the emotions of dreams through a smell stimulus.This past week was Eating Disorder Awareness Week in Canada, which is really like any other week in my world.
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