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Scientists at MIT have developed an experimental device and a protocol to manipulate the content of the dreams of people while they sleep, to recall specific signals that can trigger issues and experiences of dreams concrete. In a new study published in the journal “Consciousness and Cognition”, a team led by the neuroscientist Adam Haar Horowitz describes how the portable electronic device, called Dormio, allows what the researchers call “ incubation of dream led ” (TDI). This experience is given during the first stage of sleep fluid, where the sleeping person experiences a border state of consciousness known as hypnagogic state .

“This state of mind is flexible and the border”, explains Haar Horowitz in a press release. “It is like climbing the notch when wandering in the mind and make it immersive: a bit like being pushed and dragged around with new sensations such as the body floats and falls , with rapid thoughts darting in and out of the mind without us having the control”.

Device in the hand – Oscar RoselloLa hipnagogia and REM sleep

The hipnagogia shares many of the feelings flowing and dream of the REM sleep -the deeper state of sleep, but with an important difference: people can still hear and process sounds during this intermediate state, as they pass from being awake to asleep and vice versa: a sort of ” door, rear-sensory “, that allows you to operate the incubator, directed dreams.

as an experimental method similar called reactivation of memory-directed (TMR) , they reactivate specific memories that are being initiated by a signal generated during the sleep, TDI may have applications as a learning tool that can improve memory consolidation. But it has one more advantage: the device Dormio is used more easily as a glove full of sensors.

“Remember to think about a tree,”

When a person falls asleep wearing the device, the audio signals are reproduced through an associated application. In the case of the experiments carried out, that are applied to 49, was sent the message ” Remember to think about a tree “.

The sensors Dormio looking for physiological data which indicate that the person has fallen asleep, at which time the system wakes up briefly, what drives them to say what I was going through the mind while sleeping. This results in a “ oral report of dreams ” that is recorded by the application. After this brief interruption, go back to sleep, but only for a short time, during a series of repeated dreams, awakenings and recordings requested, all centered in a state of “hipnagogia directed”.

“The incubation directed of dreams is a protocol to reactivate memories during sleep in a way that leads to the incorporation of the specific memory, or memories related to the content of the dream,” explain the researchers in their article. Something like used when the real environment blends with our dreams a moment in time when we are half asleep. “The aim of the present study is to evaluate the ability of Dormio to identify the period of onset of sleep and to manipulate successfully the content of the report of sleep hypnagogic through verbal instructions previous to the dream”. That is to say, the ability of the device to break through with your message (such as “remember a tree”) at the right moment to interfere in our dreams,

hopeful Outcomes

although the prototype system is still being refined, the experimental results suggest that it seems to sway with a more than acceptable success. When Dormio urged participants to think of a tree prior to and during the state of dream, “border”, the 67% of the reports of dreams collected by the application mentioned references to a tree of the awakening of a hypnagogic state.

“My dream involved a tree” -as stated in the report of one of the participants-. I was following the roots with someone, and the roots I would be transported to different places… Could hear the roots of the tree emanating energy as if I was taken to some place”.

on the contrary, the reports of dreams of a control group, to whom only they were asked to observe their thoughts, but making them participate in the message shared (“remember a tree”), almost had no references to the topic.

Future applications

in Addition to helping to shape the dreams of the people, the researchers say their system, Dormio, and its protocol of incubation of dreams could be used for a variety of learning techniques that involve the consolidation of the memory based on the dream, or as a tool to help creativity and problem solving, to encourage people to consciously remember the thought is fluid and vivid account of his hypnagogic state.

“Dreaming with a specific topic seems to offer benefits after the dream, as in tasks of creativity related to this topic,” says Horowitz. “This is not surprising in the light of historical figures such as Mary Shelley or Salvador Dali , who were inspired creatively in her dreams. The difference here is that we induce these dreams creatively beneficial purpose, in a specific way”.

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