Have you ever woken up from a dream that made absolutely no sense and wondered what it was about?
A team of researchers claims that the dream you experienced is just a continuation of what is happening in your daily life – with no deeper or hidden meaning.
Experts at Nokia Bell Labs in Cambridge have developed a natural language processing technique that allows dreams to be analyzed and quantified automatically.
In what sleep scientists call the "continuity hypothesis," our dreams reflect what we experience in our real life, and the new tool proves the theory.
Since our dreams reflect everyday life, the authors say it might be possible to develop a tool that could help diagnose and treat mental health.
Have you ever woken up from a dream that made absolutely no sense and wondered what it was about? Left baffled if there is any deeper meaning? Image from a picture agency
The tool looked at the dreams of 20,000 people, including a war veteran. The tool categorized the dream and linked it to everyday life
Using the new & # 39; Dreamcatcher & # 39; tool, the team had over 20,000 dream reports studied and found that what we dream is a continuation of what happens in everyday life.
Among the people whose dreams the tool analyzed included an artist, blind dreamers, a school girl, a war veteran, and a cross-dressing businessman.
SNAKES, SEX AND A SWORD: DREAM TEXT EXAMPLES
The researchers analyzed more than 20,000 examples of dream texts.
Here are a few examples:
- Roland struck the monster with his sword. The monster tortured itself and died.
- I am in hand-to-hand combat with a man of about fifty. He mocks me with a scowl. When my knife turns into a fork, I spear it in the chest and cause a fatal wound. His eyes bulge forward; The bubbling blood mingles with his last gurgling breath.
- Bonnie and I are in the same room and there is a rattle snake that I'm scared of. Bonnie isn't worried and takes it by the tail and I scream in fear. She laughs at me as it coils around her and then almost bites me. I'm going away mad at her for putting me in this danger.
- I dreamed that I was having sex with Doug. We were in this huge, hot room and then just started undressing. He caressed me and told me it was the 4th happiest moment in his life. Then the rest of the school came in and we got dressed very quickly.
They found a way to automatically place dreams on a scale commonly used by sleep experts called the Hall and Van de Castle systems.
In the second century AD, Artemidorus Daldianus produced a five-volume work entitled "The Interpretation of Dreams".
In the 1890s, Sigmund Freud associated certain meanings with characters, objects, animals and scenarios that often appeared in dreams.
More recently, sleep scientists have developed increasingly sophisticated methods of coding dreams – with more than 150 dream rating and content analysis scales available today, including the top-rated Hall and Van de Castle system.
This coding system sees a dream as a cast of characters, an act in which characters interact with one another, and a process that reflects various active states.
The problem is that this is a completely manual process that takes a long time and limits the number of dreams that can be coded.
The new tool developed by the Cambridge team aims to solve this problem by finding a way to automatically process the language that describes dreams.
From each dream report, the tool extracted nouns to identify people, animals, and fictional characters, and verbs to classify interactions in the form of amicable interactions or aggression.
Among the texts examined by the artificial intelligence algorithm there were mentions of a monster with a sword who had sex in a huge hot room and wiggled snakes.
The results suggest that it is possible to develop future technologies that bridge the current yawning gap between real life and dreams – to quantify the "sleeping mind".
To address the problem of manual dream processing, experts have created manual reports using algorithms that focus on emotions.
According to the team behind the new dream analysis tool, this means that the researchers have not overcome two main technical challenges.
This can be used to examine aspects of dream reports that research has found important, such as: B. Characters and Interactions. and how to do this in a principled way in literature.
"To address these challenges, we developed a tool to automatically score dream reports by operationalizing Hall and Van de Castle's widely used dream analysis scale," the team wrote.
"We validated and tested the effectiveness of the tool on hand-commented dream reports on what sleep scientists call the 'continuity hypothesis' on this unprecedented scale."
In the therapeutic context, the main goal of dream analysis is to help people address their real-world problems, and the team says their tool can be used to help people identify latent emotional states and help people cope with significant life events to help.
One artist was among those whose dreams were analyzed with the tool. Her sleeping mind focused on aesthetic concepts similar to those of her everyday life
A cross-dressing businessman named Chris dreamed of self-esteem, which is what he was thinking about when he was awake. Researchers say the work helps link the sleeping and waking thought processes
"For those who suffer from nightmares, interpreting dreams and ultimately influencing dreams are ways to partially treat their condition," the authors explained.
Just like in their real life, in their dreams, women tended to be kinder and less aggressive than men, the team found.
All of these results support the idea that there is indeed a continuity between an individual's real life experience and what they are dreaming of.
Interestingly, they found that blind people who expected to dream in ways similar to the general public were more likely to dream of imaginary characters.
"In the future, we will explore which research communities and practitioners could benefit from our dream assessment tool," the authors said.
"We will also be integrating our tool into a mobile app that will allow users to conveniently record their dreams."
The results were published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.