Science and Technology|Dreams Are Brains' Virtual Reality Games

Reference: https://www.nature.com/articles/nrn2716 PDF version:http://www.doaks.org/research/byzantine/scholarly-activities/byzantine-studies-fall-workshop/naturepaper09.pdf External images used in this video are from wikimedia commons. {{PD-US}} Have you ever wondered when the VR headsets can get more comfortable? I mean, yes, they are getting thinner and lighter, but after several hours of wearing them, it’s still easy to feel eye strain. And the LCD displays of the headsets are just too glaring. Anyway, nowadays VR games are getting more and more popular. But wouldn’t it be better to play VR games without a dumb headset? Turns out our brains have their own VR gaming systems, and we can play them every night. Scientists have found out that what we do in our dreams is exactly like playing virtual reality games, and it has connections with consciousness. Research shows that during the REM sleep, which is short for rapid eye movement, dreams mainly show the features of primary consciousness, which includes perception and emotion. Scientists consider REM sleep a brain state which can be analyzed with techniques such as EEG and MRI, while “dream” is the information of what the brain does during REM sleep, often reported by the dreamer. Human beings have a large amount of REM sleep before birth and in the first year after birth, it decreases afterwards as waking time and cognitive abilities increase, but still remains about 1.5 hours per day in adult life. This suggests that REM sleep contributes a lot to the early brain-mind maintenance, and helps maintain the brain functions throughout life. Indeed, scientists have carried out experiments on rats, and found out that sleep-deprived rats lost weight and control of body temperature, and eventually died. Research also shows that the main function of dreams may not be just recollecting the dreamer’s past. It is possible that the brain is preparing itself for its functions in future waking states, which is just like pilots practicing flights in a simulator before flying a real plane.