Objects in lucid dreams are perceived as real, study discovers

It's all about smooth pursuit.

Man inside an ice caver under the Vatnajokull glacier, Vatnajokull National Park, East Iceland, Iceland. Photo by Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images
  • While lucid dreaming, we use the same eye movement patterns as when we observe physical actions.
  • However, we use different eye patterns when we imagine movement.
  • Researchers believe this might help add to our understanding of consciousness.
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Practicing Skills In Your Sleep Can Be as Effective as Physical Training

Just imagining movement fires the same neurons as if we were actually moving. A new study shows we can wake our sleeping mind to practice motor skills in our dreams.

 

Lucid dreaming. (Image: Shutterstock)

Mental training is arguably as important as physical fitness. That argument is gaining strength as a growing body of literature unravels the once-mysterious connections between consciousness and movement. We know that the murky domain of subconscious and autonomic actions greatly influences our waking lives. Now we’re learning how to train our unconscious selves for the benefit of our daily actions.

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What Do a Robot's Dreams Look Like? Google Found Out

They may look odd, but it’s all part of Google’s plan to solve a huge issue in machine learning: recognizing objects in images.

Google's artificial neural networks produce some trippy images thanks to its Deep Dream program (photo credit: Michael Tyka/Google)

When Google asked its neural network to dream, the machine begin to generating some pretty wild images. They may look odd, but it’s all part of Google’s plan to solve a huge issue in machine learning: recognizing objects in images.

To be clear, Google’s software engineers didn’t ask a computer to dream, but they did ask its neural network to alter the images based on an original photo they fed into it, by applying layers. This was all part of their Deep Dream program.
 
The purpose was to make it better at finding patterns, which computers are none too good at. So, engineers started by “teaching” the neural network to recognize certain objects by giving it 1.2 million images, complete with object classifications the computer could understand.

These classifications allowed Google’s AI to learn to detect the different qualities of certain objects in an image, like a dog and a fork. But Google’s engineers wanted to go one step further, which is where Deep Dream comes in, which allowed the neural network to add those hallucinogenic qualities to images

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The Evolutionary Biology of Dreams, Explained

Dreams might be a whole lot sexier than we thought – but not because of their narrative content. Neurologist Patrick McNamara's theory links the biological changes in our brains during sleep to human's inherent desire to procreate.

A scene from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Image: Focus Features)

Carl Jung battled his one-time friend and mentor, Sigmund Freud, on a number of topics, though perhaps none as perniciously as dreaming. An entire cottage industry of depth psychology and journaling workshops grew out of Jung’s theories of individuation—integrating the conscious and unconscious. To Jung, dreams—the primal material of the unconscious—unlocked humanity’s archetypal code, revealing more than they concealed, in direct contradiction to Freud’s ideas.

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