Scientists stationed on Farallon Islands, which has one of the world’s most delicate ecosystems, don’t just keep tabs on native species such as sea lions and puffins–they’ve also have been recording their dreams for the past two decades. The findings? Dreams that are “eerily similar,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle:
“Whether scientists are on the island for a few weeks or… stationed there on and off for a decade, their dreams are filled with marauding kids, terrified shorebirds, forest fires, shark attacks and a healthy dose of the absurd.”
A group of Japanese researchers are claiming that their “mind-reading” machine can read people’s dreams. While it sounds like a novel idea, this is certainly not the first claim from scientists that they can depict what a person sees based on their brain activity—nor the last.
Brain imaging has been around for ages. Typically, when fMRI machines are used to read people’s brain activity, the different states are classified into categories and then used to predict a person’s “perceptual state.” So what these ATR Computational Neuroscience researchers are saying they can do is actually reconstruct what a person is seeing. But can they really?
In the study, published in Neuron, the researchers flashed 400 images in front of subjects for 12 seconds each. An fMRI machine was used to collect brain activity data, which was then analyzed on a computer to determine patterns linked to how the brain reacted when it saw the images.
Do you dream in color, or black and white? The answer may depend on the TV you watched as a child. New research shows that baby boomers who grew up watching black and white TV still often dream in grayscale while their kids dream only in color.
Eva Murzyn of the U.K.’s University of Dundee asked 60 people, half over age 55 and half under 25, to keep detailed dream diaries. She also collected information about the kind of TV and films they watched as children. More than 20 percent of the older group reported having black and white dreams, but less than 5 percent of the younger group reported them. A few of the older subjects who’d been exposed to color film and TV as children also rarely dreamed in black and white. The shift in dream palette directly coincided with the popularization of color TV in the 1960s. (It also means that pre-TV generations would have dreamed only in color.)