Japanese Scientists “Read Dreams” Via MRI Scans

April 6, 2013

Holy cow:

In the study, published in the journal Science, researchers at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories, in Kyoto, western Japan, used MRI scans to locate exactly, which part of the brain was active during the first moments of sleep.

They then woke up the dreamer and asked him or her what images they had seen, a process that was repeated 200 times. These answers were compared with the brain maps that the MRI scanner produced.

Researchers were then able to predict what images the volunteers had seen with a 60 per cent accuracy rate, rising to more than 70 per cent with around 15 specific items including men, words and books, they said.

Goosebumps! (And a thought: Do we want scientists to “figure out” dreaming? It’s one of the truly magical things about being alive, isn’t it? It’d be like if they figured out what all those shiny sparkly things in the sky at night were. That would just be sad!)

Dr. Yukiyasu Kamitani of the Department of Neuroinformatics, ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories

• More at Scientific American

• Unrelated dream image made by Dr. Emad Kayyam. From here.