Where in the mind is the seat of dreaming?

  • #1
DaveC426913
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I guess the core of this question comes down to the naive question is the subconscious below the unconscious?

Let me 'splain by way of personal example.

My dreams usually contain no real surprises. Like a script I've already read, I often seem to act in dreams as if I have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen. In, say, a fight with a stranger, I sort of know how it's going - I swing at him and miss, and he points his gun at me, but never pulls the trigger. It's like we're play-acting.

If I'm driving a car, and apply the brakes and start to skid into a river, it's kind of like I'm watching it over my own shoulder.

Occasionally though, I have a dream where an outcome is like a bolt from the blue, and utterly catches me by surprise.

The other night, I dreamt I was taken to a doctor by my spouse to get tested for ... something, I didn't know what. I assumed it was something mundane but systemic such as allergies or fatigue or something like that. I let the doctor do all sorts of weird tests - tests that I should have been able at least question if I were thinking clearly, but for some reason, I was mildly sedated for the tests.

He looked very carefully at several of my scabs, taking samples and stuff, and he took a punch biopsy of my bone.

I waited for the results, wandering around on my mildly sedate state, eventually flopping to the floor like a drunk person; it was all somewhat silly.

Then I got hold of a label for one of the things he'd given me. It said, in not so many words, you're being given this because you have CANCER.

WHAM! Right out the blue. I started wailing inconsolably.

It was only *after* being given the answer that I recognized the obvious signs: he was looking for lesions and checking bone marrow, etc.

So, it seems to me that my subconscious knew all along what the dream was about (and dropped obvious hints that I never picked up on), but my unconscious was totally oblivious.

So, I guess my unconscious is still not in communication with my subconscious. I would have thought my dreaming would have come directly from my subconscious - which would be why - in most of my usual dreams, I am aware what story the dream is telling.
 

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  • #2
Simon Bridge
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nobody can answer where in the mind dreams happen since we do not have a solution to the mind body problem.
as far as the emergent concepts of subconscious etc are concerned, they are models in the abstract and so exist side by side rather than as levels one above the other... except maybe metaphorically in which case it's whatever you like.
The kind of experience you relate likely highlights an inadequacy in the models.

neurophysically, dreams happen all over the brain in a state where this activity is disconnected from your body.

I like Dennet's pandemonium model in "consciousness explained" ... at least it will show you why the question is difficult.
 
  • #3
DaveC426913
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Sorry, my question as not where in the brain, but where in the mind.
i.e. are dreams created by the unconscious or by the subconscious?
Are un- and sub- distinct enough to ask that question?
 
  • #4
strangerep
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Sorry, my question as not where in the brain, but where in the mind.
i.e. are dreams created by the unconscious or by the subconscious?
Are un- and sub- distinct enough to ask that question?
An interesting topic. My background in this is modest, but,... since a professional psychotherapist has not yet answered,...

IIUC, the distinction between "un-" and "sub-" conscious is a common mistake. See, e.g., this Wiki page, section "The subconscious and psychoanalysis".

The unconscious is (at least in the Freudian scheme) divided into id and superego, and regarded as the source of dreams. Yet our experience of dreams can be a conscious one. So, when you said "seat" of dreaming, did you mean the source of dreams, or the experience?

That Wiki page on the unconscious mind also has some interesting remarks about non-Freudian views of dreams. The one about how the neurons fire periodically in the lower brain levels, sending random signals to the cortex, which then tries to make sense of the signals being received by (presumably?) pattern-matching, and synthesizing a dream accordingly. This kinda makes sense to me, since whenever I have dreams of rising water (often violently rising), I wake up merely to realize that I really need to go to the bathroom... o_O I.e., the signals of a bladder-in-discomfort got re-processed into a dream about dangerous water.
 
  • #5
Drakkith
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Sorry, my question as not where in the brain, but where in the mind.
i.e. are dreams created by the unconscious or by the subconscious?
Are un- and sub- distinct enough to ask that question?

I don't think there's an agreed-on definition for either the unconscious or subconscious mind. As far as I can tell from a brief look into the subject, the unconscious mind is a "better" term than subconscious in the context that most research uses the term unconscious, but even then it's hard to say what the distinction is given that both terms have been used in many different ways over the years. Just look at these two articles:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconscious_mind#Controversy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subconscious

Since there doesn't appear to be any accepted definition or description of either, I'm not sure you question can be answered with any certainty.
 
  • #6
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In my experience, the terms unconscious and subconscious "mind" have traditionally been used interchangeably in the psychological literature with no really agreed upon operational distinction between the two. If you peruse the split-brain research of Sperry and Gazzaniga and others from a neuropsychological perspective, there is a good deal of evidence that what might instead be called "non-conscious" operations of the brain are carried out in the non-dominant hemisphere, mainly the right hemisphere in right-handed individuals.

As far as dreams, the idea that they "well up" from the unconscious mind is somewhat of an antiquated notion. The brain is simply in a different operational state during sleep than it is during waking. It goes through cycles where thalamocortical oscillations change the dynamics of the global rhythms of the brain. There are also changes in the way sensory input is processed. What we characterize as a waking, "conscious" state is very much related to the manner in which current incoming sensory stimuli grounds our cognitive processes to a perceived sense of "objective" reality. What you are getting in a dream state is a cognitive apparatus that is operating without this grounding of a polymodal sensory input. The brain during the dream state is relatively shut off from input-output operations. It's pretty much a chaotic event where the sensory environment the subject is behaving in is assembled from stored memories.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0060892897/?tag=pfamazon01-20
 
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  • #7
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If I may kick in, my take-a-way from a lot of the more recent thinking about the brain is how little control the so-called conscious mind has. Sam Harris talks about this in his book Free Will--decisions occur in the brain before we are consciously aware of them. In fact, the part of our minds we are unaware of seems to be 'aware' of much much more than 'we' are (with our presumed awareness)! I would tentatively submit that we could almost swap the terms conscious and unconscious, and consider ourselves as inhabiting the unconscious bit. (See, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman and The Believing Brain by Micheal Shermer for some backup vocals on this score.)

As to the original question, Where in the Mind is the Seat of Dreaming, the field of psychology that I have been exploring lately, Evolutionary Psychology, might posit that all functions of the brain exist in evolved modules that don't need necessarily to have discrete, unique locations in the brain. If you can imagine sleep evolving as a way of staying very, very still (to hide from predators) and use less energy (possibly evolving long, long ago when we were little squirmy things of some description) followed by the need for memory and learning consolidation, which piggybacked on this state of stasis, (because evolution is a great tinkerer).

The dream state could be more of a protocol that gets activated, more-or-less brain-wide, rather than a little theater nestled somewhere among the folds. Once the bothersome tasks of sensory input/output are suspended, the brain goes about some necessary housekeeping, the most important of which seems to happen mostly, but not exclusively, during REM sleep. Because when we wake up from this phase of the sleep cycle we report 'dreams' we assume we are 'dreaming' during REM, but it is just as possible that, when we wake up from the housekeeping operations going on, we have a buffer full recent impulses that we weave into a dream scenario, which seems to have unfolded in time only because there is no way to conceive of that much information 'all at once.'

Or not. There are cavernous gaps in my knowledge which I can only hope others will be kind enough to help me span. Happy face.
 
  • #8
DaveC426913
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when we wake up from the housekeeping operations going on, we have a buffer full recent impulses that we weave into a dream scenario, which seems to have unfolded in time only because there is no way to conceive of that much information 'all at once.'
I have often thought there is a lot of truth to that. That dreams are not nearly as meaningful as we like to think. That meaning is imposed on them by the conscious, like a form of mental pareodelia.

However, I am sometimes astonished at how often I sleep fiercely - a term I use when I wake up rigid with muscle tension (sleep paralysis) and my dreams have been very loud - like on a rushing roller coaster.

These kinds of dreams are looooong (days, years) complex and ... artistically cohesive - with foreshadowing, character and plot development, irony, a story arc and a resolution. I wake up and have to pause, I have to take a moment and remember who I am and where I am - I'm on Earth, and it's 2016 and my name is Dave.

Remember the ST:TNG episode The Inner Light, where Picard is zapped by an alien probe and experiences 40 years of life among their people? When he wakes up, he has to take a moment to remember their names again, like he hasn't seen them in 40 years.

I've had dreams like that. They are so rich, I race to write them down, but of course, the ideas and images slip from my mind like water through my fingers.
 
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  • #9
Drakkith
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I have often thought there is a lot of truth to that. That dreams are not nearly as meaningful as we like to think. That meaning is imposed on them by the conscious, like a form of mental pareodelia.

Indeed. The only meaning I've ever gotten out of a dream is, "Get up, you've got to go pee".

These kinds of dreams are looooong (days, years) complex and ... artistically cohesive - with foreshadowing, character and plot development, irony, a story arc and a resolution. I wake up and have to pause, I have to take a moment and remember who I am and where I am - I'm on Earth, and it's 2016 and my name is Dave.

Wow. I've never had a dream like that. Mine are much shorter, with little depth.
 
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  • #10
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Actually, I tried not so say that dreams are meaningless, because I don't know that that is true, but I was indeed talking about something like pareidolia. Except here the environment is not throwing up random cues that we mis- or over-interpret, as we might we with potato that looks like Drew Carey or something (as so many potatoes do). Everything going on in dreams is based on our own experience and how we ordered things in the past, so wouldn't it reflect somehow on who we are in some way? Even if they aren't that useful in therapy and such. It does sound like you have some wild dreams! But, you know, descent with variation. That's your unique phenotypical expression of the genome. Gotta love it.
 
  • #11
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I remember, when I was a very little kid having to pee really bad, somehow, I just happened to be holding a Bugler Tobacco can ...

You can probably dream up the rest... [COLOR=#black]..[/COLOR] :blushing: [COLOR=#black]...[/COLOR] :oldlaugh:

And no!... It wasn't ...
Get up, you've got to go pee

ROFLMAO ... That only happened once ! !
 
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Remember the ST:TNG episode The Inner Light, where Picard is zapped by an alien probe and experiences 40 years of life among their people?
Yup...[COLOR=#black]..[/COLOR]:ok:
 
  • #13
davenn
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Remember the ST:TNG episode The Inner Light, where Picard is zapped by an alien probe and experiences 40 years of life among their people? When he wakes up, he has to take a moment to remember their names again, like he hasn't seen them in 40 years.

one of my fav episodes ! .. brilliant story

like Drakkith said, I don't recall dreams that have crossed into a second or more day

have had a lot of recurrent dreams over the years ...
sometimes once or twice a year, other times, many years between them ... but even in the dream state, I am recognising that I have had this dream before and always wonder if they are trying to tell me something ?

The one non-recurrent dream was me playing the keyboard (Synth) and I died ... in the dream I felt myself leave my body and float up some 25-30 yrs later, I'm still here, but my keyboard isn't. I sold it within 6 months of the dream to buy my first decent computer

It wasn't so much about me literally dying, nor the keyboard for that matter ( as far as I know, it may still be working) ... It was a parting of ways something in my life that wasn't getting the use I planned dying off, so I could move into new things

I'm a storm chaser, both here in Australia and on trips to the USA

I have 2 periodic repeating storm related dreams
1) being chased by intense lightning strikes ... really as tho they are out to get me
2) chasing the tornadoes and the camera often failing to operate correctly


Dave
 
  • #14
jim mcnamara
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With regard to 'fierce sleep':

Volitional control of muscles is not active (turned off) during REM sleep - REM is the time when your brain dreams. If you are startled out of sleep by your alarm or a loud noise, you may feel like you are unable to move voluntarily.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10916/
 
  • #15
I have often thought there is a lot of truth to that. That dreams are not nearly as meaningful as we like to think. That meaning is imposed on them by the conscious, like a form of mental pareodelia.

However, I am sometimes astonished at how often I sleep fiercely - a term I use when I wake up rigid with muscle tension (sleep paralysis) and my dreams have been very loud - like on a rushing roller coaster.

These kinds of dreams are looooong (days, years) complex and ... artistically cohesive - with foreshadowing, character and plot development, irony, a story arc and a resolution. I wake up and have to pause, I have to take a moment and remember who I am and where I am - I'm on Earth, and it's 2016 and my name is Dave.

Remember the ST:TNG episode The Inner Light, where Picard is zapped by an alien probe and experiences 40 years of life among their people? When he wakes up, he has to take a moment to remember their names again, like he hasn't seen them in 40 years.

I've had dreams like that. They are so rich, I race to write them down, but of course, the ideas and images slip from my mind like water through my fingers.

If you can remember your dreams, then you technically are concious of it, or? I have in the past done Lucid Dreaming, where I "wake" myself up in my dreams. A few times I have even managed to fall asleep while conscious (aka WILD; Wake Induced Lucid Dream), and wow feeling your body going into sleep paralysis mode is very scary! Suddenly I can't move my body anymore and hear a weird sound like my ears have been shut off, then I feel myself "fall/rise" out of my physical body. To wake yourself up in dreams, you can have certain "dream signs" that trigger your awareness that it is a dream. For me it is looking at my phone to see the (digital) time, since it is something I do quite often through out a normal day. In my dream I never am able to see the actual numbers, only weird symbols. The moment I see symbols its like a light switches on that "I am dreaming" and I instanly "wake up" consciously into my dream and it feels completely real! After getting the hang of Lucid Dreaming, I eventually managed to "fly" around in my dreams, but I had to trick myself into believing I could fly lol. It is all very strange, but there seems to be some consistancy of how to lucid dream, even though the dreams themselves are abstract and not as "concrete" or linear like in real life. I don't want to ramble on though, here is some basic information of Lucid Dreaming at least:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucid_dream

However, if you actually write down your dreams / keep a dream journal, it will be MUCH easier to become lucid while dreaming. From my own experience, I feel it is that you start becoming more and more aware of certain thought / dream patterns. Most of it I am sure is quite subjective, but there seems to be some similarities in people with dream signs for example (most people see symbols instead of numbers is one) and also the techniques for becoming more lucid in dreams (dream journal, waking up before your normal wake up time (can make you fall back into a dream state very easily))..

You should definitely try it yourself, if you are able to remember certain parts of your dream already, that means you were lucid at some point to be able to recall it. I know some people that have practiced a lot and can become concious in their dreams almost on demand. Some use it for therapy, everything feels completely real, so you can face your fears (or pleasures haha) if you want. When you wake up you really feel that you have experienced it, like it happened yesterday. It is all very weird, but I've tried it myself many times so I know how it works for "myself", though I would love to know something more concrete about it (something more objective, then simply subjective).
 
  • #16
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Thanks for that. Just for the sake of keeping on the thread, we started with 'where in the mind is the seat of dreaming,' and then played with the notion that dreams are not experienced in some 'real time' way while you are sleeping, but arise when a sort of a buffer of impulses associated with housekeeping operations remains as you wake up, and the 'conscious' mind makes a story out of it, because that's what conscious minds do. Do you think that could still be true, even when taking into account your lucid dream states? I would like to know your perspective, as I don't have quite the same kind of dreams personally.

And, we should all be taking more care with the word 'conscious,' because no one knows what it is, and every time we say it, somewhere, a kitten dies. :-(
 
  • #17
Drakkith
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Just for the sake of keeping on the thread, we started with 'where in the mind is the seat of dreaming,' and then played with the notion that dreams are not experienced in some 'real time' way while you are sleeping, but arise when a sort of a buffer of impulses associated with housekeeping operations remains as you wake up, and the 'conscious' mind makes a story out of it, because that's what conscious minds do.

I find that unlikely. This should show up as a sudden burst of activity on an EKG upon awakening as your brain processes everything and you "experience" the dream, but as far as I know that doesn't happen.
 
  • #18
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Very good point! Offers an avenue for evidence against the hypothesis. I'll try to do some research and get back to this thread.
 
  • #19
DaveC426913
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Drakkith is right as usual. Researchers have done experiments on sleeping subjects, waking them up at certain points in their REM cycles, Their studies seem to indicate that, not only do dreams happen in realtime, but that their pace is appoximately the same as reality. For example, a dream in which the subject takes subjectively ten seconds to walk the length of a hallway, also seems to take about ten seconds objectively.
 
  • #20
strangerep
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Researchers have done experiments on sleeping subjects, waking them up at certain points in their REM cycles, Their studies seem to indicate that, not only do dreams happen in realtime, but that their pace is approximately the same as reality. For example, a dream in which the subject takes subjectively ten seconds to walk the length of a hallway, also seems to take about ten seconds objectively.
That surprises me. How is that measured reliably?
 
  • #21
DaveC426913
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That surprises me. How is that measured reliably?
Yeah. I don't recall the exact details - it was a long time ago. I think they may have measured the length of the subjects' REMs, and upon waking the subjects up, asked how long a dream they had experienced. Do this enough times with enough subjects and you can start to get some reliable data.

I don't know how accurate it was; I'd guess they be happy to just have an order of magnitude estimate. A ten second subjective dream experience doesn't occur in, say, one second - a la Inception.
 
  • #22
strangerep
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I think they may have measured the length of the subjects' REMs, and upon waking the subjects up, asked how long a dream they had experienced. Do this enough times with enough subjects and you can start to get some reliable data.
This assumes that the start of a dream, as remembered by the subject, coincides with the start of REM. I wonder how reliable that assumption is, since it's not clear whether we always remember all of our dreams.

A ten second subjective dream experience doesn't occur in, say, one second - a la Inception.
The reason I questioned this is that I sometimes have a weird experience upon awakening mid-dream: for a few moments I'm aware of being back in my bed, but dreamlike images continue to play unbidden at fast-forward speed in my mind. :oldconfused:
 
  • #23
Thanks for that. Just for the sake of keeping on the thread, we started with 'where in the mind is the seat of dreaming,' and then played with the notion that dreams are not experienced in some 'real time' way while you are sleeping, but arise when a sort of a buffer of impulses associated with housekeeping operations remains as you wake up, and the 'conscious' mind makes a story out of it, because that's what conscious minds do. Do you think that could still be true, even when taking into account your lucid dream states? I would like to know your perspective, as I don't have quite the same kind of dreams personally.

And, we should all be taking more care with the word 'conscious,' because no one knows what it is, and every time we say it, somewhere, a kitten dies. :-(

Time felt quite normal in my lucid dreams, just how the dream progressed felt quite erratic. If I am to find any "story" from my dreams, it would be like an abstract film with randomness thrown in various stages. It is difficult to find a balance between being lucid (awake) in your dream and to simply "dream". If one is more then the other, you will either fall back into normal dreaming (thus are no longer lucid) or just physically wake up back to reality. It takes some practice, and once you got this balance right and can be lucid enough in your dreams (without waking yourself up for real), then you can also start to control your dreams. That by itself is also quite difficult and you need to practice it. For example when I wanted to fly in my dreams, I couldn't. I simply didn't believe I could fly, remember this all feels like real life so I had to find some way to trick myself into believing I could. So what I did was I just jumped up and down, believing that I could jump a little bit higher with every jump I made. Before I knew it, I was jumping as high as the 4 story buildings next to me. When I got over the roof tops, then I actually believed I could fly, and wow it felt very real (even if I wouldn't have any idea in real life how it would feel). I was flying over the roof tops of Amsterdam (where I lived at the time), but I noticed that I couldn't see in detail how all the buildings looked. Obviously I don't have any idea of all the little details of how Amsterdam looked liked from a birds perspective, so my reference was quite coarse / grainy. Thus after some time everything became like a drawing, like that famous A-ha music video "Take On Me" (lol) and then I was just somewhere else now in some different context / "story". As you can see its some weird balance of states, and it kind of all gels together in some sort of order. Haha, I have even had some lucid dreams where I just can't imagine anything, and simply nothing happens (for example I open a door to just blackness, nothing there).

Again, time feels to pass "normally" for me when lucid dreaming (which is how it feels for me in reality too). You do not get this time dilation feeling, like I have had with some psychadelic drugs. Also the dreams seem to be formed more concretely from my memories, unlike psychadelics which you get in "live input" from the outside world via your senses (which must then be modulating the signal in your head in different ways).
 
  • #24
DaveC426913
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Anyone able to feel themselves switching brain rhythms?

I always lie fully awake thinking for a long time before I fall asleep. But after a while, I start to notice that I can't seem to hold on to a thought. Sometimes an otherwise clear thought will fade until, just a moment later, I can't pursue it anymore, and just ten seconds later I can't even remember what I was thinking about. My mind starts drifting of its own accord, like a car without a driver, and a complacency settles over me. If I am careful, I can remain fully aware it is happening. If I think too much, I come right back awake again, but I can manage to hold myself in that state, and even observe it, without regaining my full faculties, for several minutes. Sleep follows shortly after.
 
  • #25
Drakkith
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Anyone able to feel themselves switching brain rhythms?

Not I.
 
  • #26
strangerep
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But after a while, I start to notice that I can't seem to hold on to a thought. Sometimes an otherwise clear thought will fade until, just a moment later, I can't pursue it anymore, and just ten seconds later I can't even remember what I was thinking about.
Yeah, I've experienced that.
 
  • #27
Anyone able to feel themselves switching brain rhythms?

I always lie fully awake thinking for a long time before I fall asleep. But after a while, I start to notice that I can't seem to hold on to a thought. Sometimes an otherwise clear thought will fade until, just a moment later, I can't pursue it anymore, and just ten seconds later I can't even remember what I was thinking about. My mind starts drifting of its own accord, like a car without a driver, and a complacency settles over me. If I am careful, I can remain fully aware it is happening. If I think too much, I come right back awake again, but I can manage to hold myself in that state, and even observe it, without regaining my full faculties, for several minutes. Sleep follows shortly after.

You are very close to doing a Wake Induced Lucid Dream, you just have to remain aware while your body goes into sleep paralysis mode. So a balance of just feeling very relaxed and keeping your mind active to a certain degree (for example just imagine "spinning to the left" constantly, while letting your body drift off to sleep).

Yeah too much thinking will keep you awake, though you described it pretty well regarding how it feels to fall asleep. My thoughts also seem to scatter before I fall asleep, like I loose the ability to have an overall focus of my train of thought and start drifting aimlessly before I loose the ability to become aware of it (and then I'm sleeping).
 
  • #28
.Scott
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Anyone able to feel themselves switching brain rhythms?

I always lie fully awake thinking for a long time before I fall asleep. But after a while, I start to notice that I can't seem to hold on to a thought. Sometimes an otherwise clear thought will fade until, just a moment later, I can't pursue it anymore, and just ten seconds later I can't even remember what I was thinking about. My mind starts drifting of its own accord, like a car without a driver, and a complacency settles over me. If I am careful, I can remain fully aware it is happening. If I think too much, I come right back awake again, but I can manage to hold myself in that state, and even observe it, without regaining my full faculties, for several minutes. Sleep follows shortly after.
Absolutely. Even to the point of being interrupted mid-thought by sleep, then recovering from sleep a second or seconds later to recover the thought at various stages of distortion. It should give me good insight into what is lost as sleep takes over - but I have never attempted critical analysis at that point. Perhaps next time I will.

Decades ago, I fell asleep with an 8-track player playing. Just as I transitioned to sleep, the music abated and it triggered my attention and I thought that perhaps my player had malfunctioned. So with my interest perked, I re-awoke only to hear that the player was playing just fine, an uninteresting observation that allowed me to immediately settle back into sleep. And once again, the music "shut off" and I re-awoke. Recognizing what was going on, I drifted back to sleep and was able to notice the music transition. It didn't actually go away entirely, but the "music meaning" was lost and it was much less conspicuous.
 
  • #29
.Scott
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Drakkith is right as usual. Researchers have done experiments on sleeping subjects, waking them up at certain points in their REM cycles, Their studies seem to indicate that, not only do dreams happen in realtime, but that their pace is approximately the same as reality. For example, a dream in which the subject takes subjectively ten seconds to walk the length of a hallway, also seems to take about ten seconds objectively.
I can post one exception to this. But before I do, let me post a question to any psychologists out there. Whenever I hear someone speak, but cannot interpret their accent, I can still repeat back to them the sounds they made - usually with enough precision that they readily understand what I said. There is some sort of sensory-level very short term memory - good for only a few seconds. I don't have a name for it, but it's a critical component in this next anecdote:

It is often the case that what I sense of my immediate environment has an influence on my dream content. While living at apartments and sleeping late one morning, I heard a neighbor go to his car and close the door - and my dream was of someone going to his car and closing the door. But when the door slammed, I awoke from the dream and still had the sounds available to me - in that very-short-term sensory memory. What I could tell from that memory contradicted the dream in an interesting way. The person talked before moving to the car and so the person became dream content, but my dream included the person moving towards the car before any car sounds had occurred. So the dream was able to back fill the car into the start of the dream.

Of course, memory editing can occur while awake. I looked for a citation for this, but such psychology papers seems to be under more paywalls that usual. Here is an abstract which itself includes several citations - and the opportunity to spent $38 to read all that they have to say:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1041608097900029

And there are other examples of how the mind constructs an illusion of the timing even of its own decisions:
http://www.rifters.com/real/articles/NatureNeuroScience_Soon_et_al.pdf
So perhaps the claim should not be that the pace of dreams approximates that of reality, but that it approximates the pace of wakeful perception.
 
  • #30
.Scott
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I guess the core of this question comes down to the naive question is the subconscious below the unconscious?

Let me 'splain by way of personal example.

My dreams usually contain no real surprises. Like a script I've already read, I often seem to act in dreams as if I have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen. In, say, a fight with a stranger, I sort of know how it's going - I swing at him and miss, and he points his gun at me, but never pulls the trigger. It's like we're play-acting.

If I'm driving a car, and apply the brakes and start to skid into a river, it's kind of like I'm watching it over my own shoulder.

Occasionally though, I have a dream where an outcome is like a bolt from the blue, and utterly catches me by surprise.

The other night, I dreamt I was taken to a doctor by my spouse to get tested for ... something, I didn't know what. I assumed it was something mundane but systemic such as allergies or fatigue or something like that. I let the doctor do all sorts of weird tests - tests that I should have been able at least question if I were thinking clearly, but for some reason, I was mildly sedated for the tests.

He looked very carefully at several of my scabs, taking samples and stuff, and he took a punch biopsy of my bone.

I waited for the results, wandering around on my mildly sedate state, eventually flopping to the floor like a drunk person; it was all somewhat silly.

Then I got hold of a label for one of the things he'd given me. It said, in not so many words, you're being given this because you have CANCER.

WHAM! Right out the blue. I started wailing inconsolably.

It was only *after* being given the answer that I recognized the obvious signs: he was looking for lesions and checking bone marrow, etc.

So, it seems to me that my subconscious knew all along what the dream was about (and dropped obvious hints that I never picked up on), but my unconscious was totally oblivious.

So, I guess my unconscious is still not in communication with my subconscious. I would have thought my dreaming would have come directly from my subconscious - which would be why - in most of my usual dreams, I am aware what story the dream is telling.
Let me tell your story this way: The other night...

You were asleep in bed with your spouse and some discomfort almost wake you up. Perhaps your spouse was moving around. You dreamed you were fatigued and sedated because you were. Perhaps you already had pills on your mind, but the similarities of being in your own bed and being in a hospital bed were enough to drift you into a hospital dream.

Something (or someone) poked you, and you interpreted this as a "punch biopsy". It was unpleasant, so the dream took on an unpleasant tone. You flopped onto the floor like a drunk person because you tried to move but couldn't - you were paralyzed because of the sleep and so you weren't getting the sensory and motor feedback cues that you would expect with real movement.

You tried to read the label, but you're in a dream. Being unable to generate detail at the same rate as reality is one of the frequent tip-offs to me that I am in a dream. In your case, it was just a summary response of "yes" to the implied question of whether something was really wrong.
 
  • #31
DaveC426913
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So the dream was able to back fill the car into the start of the dream.
Yes! Yes!

One million years ago, I dreamt that a lamp fell over and crashed. The lamp really did fall over and crash, and it woke me up. But to this day, I've never been able to figure out how, in my dream, I started dreaming about a lamp falling over before I heard the crash that inspired it.

I drew the same conclusion - that my mind back-filled it.

In one million years, I've never heard anybody else ever mention such an experience.
 
  • #32
.Scott
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It takes a rare observer. One who notices the illusion - even when half asleep.
 
  • #33
Drakkith
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IMO, dreams happen in our *mirror neural system*.

Do you have a reference supporting this?
 
  • #34
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Do you realize that your stream of thoughts is actually a patchwork of thoughts with tons of blanks. Here is an example, have you ever actually panned your eyes? If you're looking to the left, and something causes your eyes to move to the right, you saw nothing in between. Your mind knew what it thought should be there, and filled it in for you. It's doing the same thing when it's not getting any input. The thing I find strangest about dreaming is the complete lack of logical thought, the strangest things in dreams, we just accept as is; however, that doesn't appear to be required in order to dream. If you do happen to notice it, you'll enter something called a lucid dream: dreams in which you are aware that you are dreaming.

Your mind is unique, I suppose if you wanted to get to the bottom of it, you'd have to go backwards in time and evolution and determine what came when. I'm not even sure what kinds of animals dream. Being such a long time ago, there wouldn't be any evidence, but I've taken to the idea that sleep and dreaming evolved during the time of the first reptiles. Their primitive bodies couldn't handle the expensive process of being conscious during the cold nights.
 
  • #35
Chronos
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The principle brain center for dreaming is believed to be the Reticular Activating System, a small mass of tissiue located in the brain stem. For a more detailed and interesting discussion of the physiology of dreaming see http://www.improverse.com/ed-articles/richard_wilkerson_2003_march_brains_and_dreams.htm. Most of the brain participates in the dreaming process. The more notable exception being the prefrontal cortex, which is largely inactive. This may explain why ludicrous and wildly improbable dream scenarios are often accepted at face value while dreaming. I have noticed with age, I've become increasingly able to realize I'm dreaming when things get odd. This has ruined some fabulous dreams as I awaken or change the dream channel as soon as that realization sets in. Who wants to wake up when you dream you just won the lottery and a matching pair of divine damsels to celebrate your largesse?
 

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