During our sleep we often have dreams. Generally, although many people don’t always remember them, everyone has dreams when they are sleeping.
Does dream solve problems? Scientists use lucid dreamers who are aware when they are in the middle of a dream and they can change the dream or control it to look at whether this was fact or fiction. This skill can be developed according to some research.
Both logical tasks and creative tasks are given to the lucid and non-lucid dreamers before they went to sleep to memorize – but not solve. The creative task asked the dreamers to come up with a metaphor. The logical tasks were to answer a question by giving factual information. The lucid dreamers woke themselves up and wrote down the answer. They are asked to solve the problem in a dream. When they on-lucid dreamers woke up, they were asked to recount their most vivid dream. Finally, there was no difference in the two groups when it came to solving the logical problems although lucid dreamers were more able to solve the creative problem in their dreams.
Low recall dreamers are dreamers who only remember their dreams about twice a month, while high recall dreamers remember their dreams about five mornings out of a week, according to a study at France’s Lyon Neuroscience Research Center.
With a PET scan, scientists look at not only the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) where the temporal and parietal lobes meet but also the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) which plays a part in decision making and retrieval of long-term memory. All information that comes from the external environment and information about what is happening in the body are collected and processed by the TPJ. When the subjects were sleeping and when they were awake, scientists monitored these areas of the brain. They find that high recall dreamers showed more activity in these areas of the brain no matter they were awake or sleeping.
During sleep, the brain doesn’t form new memories. And, high recall dreamers awakened throughout the night about twice as often as those who didn’t remember. High recall dreamers have more chance to commit their dreams to memory since the higher activity in the TPJ and MPFC may account for the frequent awakenings, even if they don’t even know it happened for they are awake for such a brief time.