Are you curious–or maybe even mystified why you dream about the things you dream about? You’re not alone. Dream scientists also ponder about those stuff. Why?

Even in this digital age, we don’t have all the answers about dreams; our knowledge about the underlying principles about dreaming is limited. In fact, till now we don’t fully understand its mechanics. Heck, we don’t even know it’s function, and dream authorities are still in a quandary about the purpose of dreaming. The thing is, it’s 2014, yet dreaming remains a huge mystery.

What happens in your brain while dreaming, anyway? This is what a new study wants to unravel. Scientists led a research team at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratory in Kyoto, Japan to continue studying dreaming. The team used brain scans to spot the visuals seen in dreams—and gathered new insight about the brain’s activity when in the state of dreaming.

To predict the visual content of dreams, the technique uses brain activity measurements. By scrutinizing the brain’s activity during sleep, the scientists hoped to be able to discern the dreams’ visual content.

So what did they discover after studying their participants? In layman’s terms, the results clearly declares: The way we “watch” our dreams is the same as the way we see things visually while awake. As they observed the brain, the patterns of activity were so similar that during the volunteers’ dreaming state they can actually predict their dreams’ visual content with the amazing accuracy of 75-80% – a stroke of insight we can all use to decode our dreams.

Furthermore, for the first time in scientific studies, this study uses dreaming to spot the brain’s networks which are active in periods of self-awareness.

The scientists used “lucid dreaming” to identify the neural pathways that naturally occurs during moments of self-perception (a state called meta-consciousness). Individuals who are experiencing lucid dreams hang on to a sense of self-consciousness even during dreaming. In this state, people are aware they’re asleep and are, in fact, dreaming.

Get more info from: How We Decode Dreams Today by Michael J. Breus, Ph.D. via Psychology Today

Featured photo credit: Dreaming/Hartwig HKD via flickr.com

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