Skip to comments.Learning While You Dream
Posted on 04/25/2010 4:03:00 AM PDT by SonOfDarkSkies
Why do we dream? Its a question dream analysts and sleep researchers have been studying for years. Now new research suggests that some dreams may actually result from the brains effort to keep learning, even as we sleep.
In a study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, 99 volunteers trained for an hour on a virtual maze, trying to find their way through the complicated, three-dimensional puzzle as quickly as possible. Then half the volunteers were allowed to sleep for 90 minutes. The other half stayed awake, reading or relaxing. During the resting period, the subjects were interrupted or awakened and asked to describe their thoughts or dreams.
After the resting period, the participants were asked to again tackle the maze. Those who hadnt napped showed no improvement or did even worse after the break. Nappers who were rested but didnt report any maze-related dreams did better but showed only marginal improvement.
However, four nappers who reported dreaming about the maze showed a startling improvement, cutting their completion time in half. The difference in scores before and after sleeping was 10 times higher for the maze dreamers than those who hadnt dreamed about the task, according to the findings published Thursday in the journal Current Biology.
Even though the number of dreamers was small, the researchers noted that the gap in learning between the dreamers and nondreamers was so wide that the finding was highly statistically significant.
(Excerpt) Read more at well.blogs.nytimes.com ...
I figured something out in a dream a few years ago. I forget what it was now, but I remember waking up and realizing I’d dreamed about the solution to something I’d been trying to figure out when I was awake.
At least at nap time.
Same thing happens when working on a problem, and putting it on “the back burner” for a while.
I find I always make better decisions after a tossing and turning night's sleep while trying to solve a problem.
The brain goes into defrag mode when sleeping plus yoiu get a free movie.
“I forget what it was now”
Maybe you’ll wake up tomorrow morning and remember what it was! Let us know.
50 years ago, when I was just 14 and trying to teach myself guitar, I wanted so badly to learn a rather difficult Doc Watson finger-picking song that was on one of the Newport albums. Trouble was, I couldn’t finger-pick! The thumb playing a steady alternating bass pattern, while the index and middle fingers play syncopated melody and harmony lines just seemed impossible!
I had every single note in my brain from repeated listenings at both 33 and 16 rpm. One night I went to bed, not being able to play even one measure, after listening to the song several times. When I woke up in the morning, I grabbed my guitar, and played the song beginning to end, at full speed! I was very surprised and delighted! In my sleep I had made the all important brain-to-fingers connections. Bet my fingies were a-twitchin’ all night!
I thought this stuff was known long ago.
The process of putting something aside or ‘sleeping on it’ allows the brain to work on it in the background. There’s even a name for it. Incubation.
Scientists and mathematicians learn to use this process to solve problems. There are a number of famous cases. I believe some of these are mentioned in the old book from the 60s, “Physcho-cybernetics” by Malcolm Maltz.
I do think some heavy duty neural rewiring is going on in our sleep. When I get tired enough, I literally can’t think anymore—it means that its time for the brain to do garbage collection.
“Same thing happens when working on a problem, and putting it on the back burner for a while.”
Far back in the mists of time I took a new job as a Tech Rep and went to a company school on the equipment I would be expected to troubleshoot and maintain. One thing the instructors stressed was that you should never work at troubleshooting for more than an hour or so without identifying the source of the problem. They told us to stop, go get a cup of coffee, talk to someone about the ball game or something for fifteen minutes and then go back to the machine. I found that this usually resulted in my walking back to the machine and immediately putting my finger on exactly what needed to be fixed. After I gained some experience I found that if a customer would explain the symptoms of the problem in a coherent manner on the phone I could usually come up with the answer during the drive to the location, even if the problem was something I had never actually seen before. The computer running in the background of the human mind solves problems, not the “conscious mind”. The conscious mind is merely a monitor.
By the way, one of the most frustrating things about the job was that some customers were either unable or unwilling to describe the problem on the phone. You might wind up driving a hundred miles to find that you didn’t have the part needed because all you got from the call was that “it won’t work”. Sometimes a person would even act angry as if they thought I was asking them to solve the problem when all I wanted was a reasonable description of the symptoms.
Elias Howe had a dream in which he realized the hole in the needle of the sewing machine needed to be at the bottom of the needle. There are examples like this of inventors, scientists and novelists.
R. G. LeTourneau was the pioneer of much of the heavy construction equipment used today.
He would ‘sleep on a problem’ and if he woke up at night with an idea he kept a pad by the bed to make notes so he would remember when he woke up.
This worked really well for him when he was trying to solve a complex problem or develop a piece of machinery to complete a task.
Assuming your “conscious mind” is so overwhelmed with diverse information much of it misinformed, hacked and or manipulated,there are fleeting seconds while you dream when your so called sub conscious mind actually performs in a conscious, rational way. No Study needed New York Times.....Duh.
Sitting Bull’s dream created Custer’s defeat.
Also worth noting, Einstein, in Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson, is quoted as saying his greatest ideas came from "bed, bath, and bus."
That happens with me quite frequently.
He believes and sets out to prove (among other things) that a lot of what we think of as consciousness isn't conscious at all...like learning, ideation/concept formation, decision making, etc.
I put the wrong link in my comment to you. Sorry.
Here's the correct link to the Jaynes' book (very interesting reviews BTW).
Yes. In fact, they even have a mnemonic of where you are when these ideas pop out of your subconsicious most often - BBB. Bed, Bathroom, and Beach. Meaning, as you are preparing to go to bed/sleep, in the bathroom, or just relaxing. When we take the pressure off our conscious brain to deliver a solution, the subconscious keeps working. When it comes up with a solution, we may be busy with our daily life. But when we put that away and are relaxing, brushing our teeth, taking a shower, etc., that is when we are able to listen to the solution. I have had this happen so many times, I have lost count.
Also, if you say, "I can't remember" or "I can't figure this out" you reduce your chances of an answer. You need to say, "I don't have it yet but I will figure it out" or "I am working on it and will get it soon." These assure your subconscious to keep working at it.
I’m going to try that with some Tommy Emmanuel licks. I just have to find a thing called an album and something called a record player. as for the different speeds. Hahahahaahahahahaha. I’m kiddin. I do find that if I’m struggling with a part I actually pop off the licks after I worked on them one day and slept on it. Weird, but I guess it makes sense that the brain is trying to lay down the wiring for the muscle memory.
Modern "we want all the answers NOW" impatience has taken away the ability to have a break.
I find I figure things out or find out what my mistake was on a problem when I put it away for a while and come back fresh. Many times, the answer just jumps out immediately.
Sometimes you can push too hard and need the time away from a problem. Our society needs to learn to slow down a little. But we are intent on becoming self-mumbling neurotics.
I regularly have ideas that represent completely new material to me. Or think of a word that perfectly describes a situation at hand...but the word is completely new to me (and for that matter, I may not even know its precise meaning until I look it up...and then find it is uniquely applicable).
In his book, Jaynes asks, what is the source of those thoughts?
He believes that some 3,000 years ago, half the human brain was devoted to action/performance and the other, correspondent half (opposite lobe) was devoted to listening...that, is listening to the gods.
He draws this conclusion by examining the literature of that periodThe Iliad, so farand points to the language and structure or the writing that demonstrates that the characters (and hence writer and scribes) of that epic poem evince a lack of a sense of self and awareness and, well, consciousness. BTW, he meticulously defines consciousness (as I mentioned in a previous post) so that his point is accessible and easy to understand by the reader.
I am only a few chapters into the book, but he has already been "leaving the impression" that such "listening" still occurs when we cease to be overwhelmed by the noise of our modern existence (as you pointed out in your previous post).
I don't know where he is heading (except in the most general way) but I have been shocked by the great care Jaynes has exercised in laying out his arguments and his generosity (with his time) and his intellectual honesty in discussing and dispelling arguments contrary to the points he is making.
As an aside, it is a pleasure to read something (anything!) that has nothing to do with Obama and actually reminds me that human beings do seek the truth without prejudice or self-interest.
i remember when i was a kid there was a comic book where a bunch of monkeys figured out to learn by sleeping with books under their pillows to learn from them. boy i wish i knew what book that was. It was so funny!
This is interesting...Last night I watched “Victoria”....
There was a scene in which her step father acting in the capacity of a co regent to the young princess, threatens and shoves her in order to get a signature needed to expand his own influence and control.
As the Princess leaves the room she looks at her mother and the brute and says:
“If you think I will ever forget the way you stood by and watched at the way he treated me, you must be dreaming”.
Think about that paradox.
The Machiavellian duo were both “ conscious” and “rational” in their thinking that the Princess would just forget about the abuse..yet the soon to be Queen of England defined their “thinking” as “dreaming”.
Next time you see a “great” orator standing on a stage enthralling thousands, ask yourself....are those masses conscious or are they dreaming?
LOL...you and I have apparently tapped into the same wavelength this week.
When I order books from Amazon, I usually order two so as to reach the free shipping minimum.
The other book I ordered with "Bicameral Brain" was Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Volume 1.
I selected this book because I wanted to delve into the details of Neuro Linguistic Programming. If Obama is the kind of orator you are describing as reaching into the unconscious minds of his entranced masses, he must be using something similar to NLP to do so.
I almost always read at least two related books at once so that I can expand my perspective in the process...but this time I hit the jackpot.
I don't think the authors realized their books could be companion pieces, but they go together like beer and pizza.
Milton Erickson clearly thought that hypnotic orators (Obama and Hitler come to mind) use techniques to bypass their listeners' conscious minds (the gatekeepers) and reach into their unconscious and, once there, plant "post hypnotic suggestions/commands."
For example, remember this "post hypnotic suggestion"...
At some point in the evening, a light is going to shine down and you will have an epiphany and youll say, I have to vote for Barack.
In Jaynes' terminology, such orators are reaching beyond the dominant side of their listeners' frontal lobes into the contralateral side that only listens (in ancient times, to the gods or God) and then relays that info to the dominant side (which acts and speaks).
BTW, it is that non-dominant lobe that is also the center (in Jaynes world) of dreams, hallucinations, etc. I wonder if it is not that same area in which one's prayer life exists...and is that the area in which one's conscience exists and instructs the dominant side.
All fascinating stuff!
This is great :)
Ok, let’s talk a little about creating and controlling both the “Conscious” and “Subconscious” mind....on a grand scale.
The Crowd Method:
First you assemble a crowd with a common need.
After enduring the Treaty Of Versailles the need might be a strong sense of “Nationalism.” eg Der Fatherland !
During the Depression the need might be “A chicken in every pot.”
If you’re a black American it might mean a promise of restitution in the form of exclusive entitlement.
If you’re a Baltimore Raven’s fan, at Ravens Stadium, the need might be to destroy “The Colts”
If you’re a pot smoking, non conforming college student, the need might be to attack Authority and or the status quo which is code for Revolution.
Once this crowd with a common need is assembled , be it in a house of worship,, in Nuremberg, on a college campus or at the foot of a stage at a Rock & Roll Concert, all that is needed, besides inspirational music, be it Woodstock ,The Gladiator Soundtrack, “Onward Christian Soldiers” or Deutschland Uber Alles....All that is needed is a great Orator who can feed the common need of the masses with artistic hype worthy of an Academy award.
This Guru must be charismatic enough with his words ,to make you cry, angry, happy, inspired, sad, depressed, heroic... the list goes on.
Some forms of “food” distribution:
Waking Hypnosis-—When you mesmerize your already primed audience into a totally united mass ready to be manipulated.
Mass Hypnosis- the singing of songs, repeating of oaths, the use of staged, dramatic images , and marching in unison are just some of techniques used in mass hypnosis. The purpose of Mass Hypnosis is to send your audience off with an embedded post hypnotic suggestion for them to continue looping a scripted mantra between their ears 24-7m, through the use of “Self Hypnosis”.
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