Sunday, April 25, 2010


It is well known that sleep helps your brain absorb new information. But what about dreams? Some researchers have speculated that they, too, might improve memory. Now, a new study provides some experimental evidence: People who dreamed about a virtual reality maze they’d encountered a few hours earlier were quicker to find a way out when tested a second time. Lots of studies have suggested that our brains are busy while we sleep, consolidating memories of the day’s events and putting them in the context of things we already know. In sleeping rodents, for example, neurons in the hippocampus fire in patterns remarkably similar to those recorded during a previous maze-running session - almost as if the animals replay the experience in their sleep. Some researchers wondered whether the rodents were dreaming of the maze, but of course there was no way to ask them.

They experimented with a group of Harvard Graduates. Participants in the study sat at a computer for 45 minutes and played with a virtual reality maze. During this time, the researchers tested their memory by asking them to remember a particular object in the maze and find their way back to it from various starting points chosen at random. Fifty of the 99 participants then had the opportunity to take a nap while the others watched videos. The researchers used electroencephalography to monitor the brain activity of the napping students and either woke them once to ask about the content of any dreams or asked them at the end of their naps. People who took a nap improved more on the maze—as judged by the speed with which they found requested objects—than did those who stayed awake. But the four students who reported thoughts of the maze just as they were falling asleep or dreams of the maze during their nap improved on their previous performance about 10 times more, on average, than other nappers did, the researchers report online on April22, 2010 in Current Biology. The idea that dreams are related to memory processing during sleep was also postulated by Freud. The new study provides some evidence of such a link.

There is nothing surprising in the findings. The problem of understanding the dream phenomenon arises because of reductionism. Psychology is studied separately from physics. So is neuroscience. The nature of the universe is replicated everywhere. Just like the Solar system is a part of the galactic system that is confined in the universe making it a three layered system, the perception mechanism also has a three layered system with consciousness forming the part of the third layer. Perception is related to physics, as the field set up by the external macro bodies create disturbances that travel in space to interact with similar fields set up by our sense organs, which are externally directed just like the Earth’s magnetosphere spreads out towards the Sun. We call it Samgyaanam.

These interactions change the nature of the electric charge within the sense organs. As a result, these are relayed by the quantum particles of the sense organs in the opposite direction: interior direction just like the solar radiation pushes the Earth’s magnetosphere back. When these interactions are compared with those impressions stored in the memory, if it finds any match, we “know” that “it is like that”. This is purely physics. We call it Pragyaanam. We should remember that effect of magnets on mind is well established in science and psychology.

When we are dreaming, the sense organs are not externally directed and are not interacting with the external fields. Hence they are not restricted by the nature of these physical interactions. But the results of these external physical interactions are stored in the memory and they interact with each other without the restrictions put on their physical combination. This is like the ring current that pushes a part of the magnetospheric radiation, leading to reconnection.

These negatively charged impulses further spread out in the same direction just like the magnetospheric reconnection moves in the direction of the solar radiation. These are then compared with the solar radiation through interaction. We call it Vigyaanam. Just like the galaxy reflects the universe, Vigyaanam also the universal and standardized physical nature of everything. This is perception. These interactions continue as long as the magnetospheric reconnection continues, which in turn continues as long as the Earth exists. Similarly, a person exists as long as Vigyaanam exists. Perception is the interaction of Samgyaanam with Pragyaanam. Dreams are interactions of Pragyaanam with Vigyaanam. Thus, we find in our dreams many sequence of events that are not possible in the wakeful state. Just like the complex numbers are not physical, but help in solving many physical problems by transgressing some restrictions put on the physical quantities, dreams can help in solving many complex problems if we sleep thinking about them.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds similar to Sri Aurobindo's idea of mental activity as made up of Samjnana, Prajnana, Ajana and Vignana. Very interesting.


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