Dreams Reflect Multiple Memories, Anticipate Future Events: Study
Dreams Reflect Multiple Memories, Anticipate Future Events: Study | Photo credit: Pixabay
Washington [US], June 9 (ANI): Dreams result from a process that often combines fragments of multiple life experiences and anticipates future events, according to new evidence from a new study published in the Journal Sleep. The journal Sleep is the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. The results show that 53.5% of dreams were related to a memory, and almost 50% of reports with a memory source were related to several past experiences. The study also found that 25.7% of dreams were related to specific impending events, and 37.4% of dreams with a source of future events were additionally related to one or more specific memories of past experiences. Future-oriented dreams became proportionately more frequent later in the night.
“Humans have struggled to understand the meaning of dreams for millennia,” said senior researcher Erin Wamsley, PhD in cognitive neuroscience and associate professor in the department of psychology and the University’s neuroscience program. Furman in Greenville, South Carolina. “We present new evidence that dreams reflect a memory processing function. While it has long been known that dreams incorporate fragments of past experiences, our data suggests that dreams also anticipate probable future events. “
The study involved 48 students who spent the night in the lab for a polysomnography sleep assessment. During the night, participants were awakened up to 13 times to report their experiences during falling asleep, REM sleep, and non-REM sleep. The next morning, participants identified and described the sources of waking life for each dream reported the night before. A total of 481 reports were analyzed.
“This is a new description of how dreams tap into multiple sources of waking life simultaneously, using fragments of past experiences to build new scenarios that anticipate future events,” Wamsley said.
According to Wamsley, the proportional increase in future-oriented dreams later in the night may be due to temporal proximity to upcoming events. While these dreams rarely represent future events realistically, the activation and recombination of future-relevant memory fragments may nonetheless perform an adaptive function.