Rat Dreams Manipulated By Scientists

MIT researchers believe that "dream engineering" might be possible, thanks to recent advances in manipulating the dreams of rats. MIT neuroscientist Matt Wilson was able to accomplish this feat by exploiting the way the brain's hippocampus encodes self-experienced events into memory.

The hippocampus is essential for encoding self-experienced events into memory. During sleep, neural activity in the hippocampus related to a recent experience has been observed to spontaneously reoccur, and this 'replay' has been postulated to be important for memory consolidation. Task-related cues can enhance memory consolidation when presented during a post-training sleep session, and, if memories are consolidated by hippocampal replay, a specific enhancement for this replay should be observed. To test this, we trained rats on an auditory-spatial association task while recording from neuronal ensembles in the hippocampus. We found that, during sleep, a task-related auditory cue biased reactivation events toward replaying the spatial memory associated with that cue. These results indicate that sleep replay can be manipulated by external stimulation and provide further evidence for the role of hippocampal replay in memory consolidation.

This is a tiny step towards the dream console envisioned by Roger Zelazny in his award-winning story The Dream Master. This fictional device allows the therapist to join a dreamer and influence the content of dreams:


(A Dream Console shown on the cover of Zelazny's The Dream Master)

Charles Render sat before the ninety white buttons and the two red ones, not really looking at any of them. His right arm moved in its soundless sling, across the lap-surface of the console - pushing some of the buttons, skipping over others, moving on, retracing its path to press the next in the order of the Recall series. Sensations throttled, emotions reduced to nothing, Representative Erikson knew the oblivion of the womb...

Render freed his arm and lifted off his crown of Medusa-hair leads and microminiature circuitry. He slid from behind his desk-couch and raised the hood.

"Neuroparticipation is based upon the fact that two nervous systems can share the same impulses, the same fantasies…"

"When the therapist is in-phase with a patient he is narco-electrically removed from most of his own bodily sensations."

Update 12-Sep-2012: The 2010 film Inception also worked with this idea of dream engineering:

Cobb: I can access your mind through your dreams.
Cobb: The seed that we planted in this man's mind may change everything.
Eames:You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling. [And pulls out a grenade launcher]

Thanks to Randall Glenn for pointing this out. End update.

From Biasing the content of hippocampal replay during sleep via Discovery.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/6/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Culture ")

We Could Downgrade Puerto Rico - And Thereby Save It
'It was cheaper to pay the refugees to go without up-to-the-minute equipment.' - John Brunner, 1976.

The Neuroon Open Sleep Tracker For Lucid Dreaming
'Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer on the bedside shelf.' - Peter Watts, 1999.

'Do Not Pay' Chatbots To Replace Law Firm Associates?
'I want my lawyer program.' - David Brin, 1990.

Translate One2One From IBM's Watson Your Communication Solution
'It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix...' - Douglas Adams, 1979.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'

iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.

Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'

Do We Really Want Backflipping Robots?
Also includes wonderful blooper reel.

RNA-Based Biocomputing Device
Living things can sense and analyze complex signals in living cells.

Seasteading Floating Cities
'It was a remarkable island, circular, about half a kilometer in diameter.'

Tesla Semi 'Electrotruck' Unveiled
Elon Musk unveils yet another technological marvel.

Watch What People Are Seeing Via Brain Scanning
'had managed to see through the other man's eyes as the other man, all unaware, washed their Zis limousine sixteen hundred meters away...'

Integrated Circuits Printed Right Onto Fabric!
'...a shirt that displayed email on its sleeve.

Interstellar Asteroid Visits Our Solar System
'This asteroid had whirled in from the cold of the interplanetary space...'

PRIMA Bionic Vision Restoration
'The VISOR... was a medical device used in the Federation to aid patients who have suffered loss of eyesight...'

Audi Traffic Jam Pilot Knows If You're Sleeping
'Even here, riding a garbage truck to eternity, the machine watched him...'

UM Hall Thruster Breaks Records
Someday, we'll see an ion drive used to get to Mars.

Ionity Ultra-fast Charging Station Network
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'

VAuth Voice Security Wearable From University of Michigan
'Siri, I gave you a voice command...' 'Yes, but do I know you?'

Ubiquiti FrontRow Camera Records Your Life
Why be choosy? Just upload your whole life to the Internet, and be done with it.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.