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 ")

'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.' - Bruce Sterling, 1985.

Bot Tweets Venmo Drug Transactions
An alarming item to find on your twitter feed.

Ontario Starts Guaranteed Minimum Income
'Earned by just being born.'- Philip Jose Farmer, 1967.

Save Your Brain's Connectome, Upload Yourself Elsewhere
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?' - Richard Morgan, 2003.

 

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

LA Subway Scanner, As Seen In 'Total Recall'
'I'm afraid to tell you this Mr. Quaid, but you have suffered a schizoed embolism...'

Sion Electric Car Covered With Solar Panels
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.

ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.

When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'

Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'

'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'

Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'

Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.

Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'

Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'

Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'

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.