Neuroscience Viewpoint of Dreams

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Weird dreams train us for the unexpected, says new theory

Quote:AI inspires hypothesis that sleeping human brain might try to break its overfamiliarity with daily data

Quote:It’s a common enough scenario: you walk into your local supermarket to buy some milk, but by the time you get to the till, the milk bottle has turned into a talking fish. Then you remember you’ve got your GCSE maths exam in the morning, but you haven’t attended a maths lesson for nearly three decades.

Dreams can be bafflingly bizarre, but according to a new theory of why we dream, that’s the whole point. By injecting some random weirdness into our humdrum existence, dreams leave us better equipped to cope with the unexpected.

I'm not particularly excited by this article, but it is interesting to see what contemporary explanations are put forward to explain dreams.

I'll mention that both from my own personal perspective as well as on experimental data, it is factually incorrect in the assertions made.

in particular this one:

Quote:However, as with so many theories that dreaming has a function, there is no evidence yet that dreaming is more than an epiphenomenon, a functionless byproduct of neural activity.
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(2021-05-16, 02:09 PM)Typoz Wrote: However, as with so many theories that dreaming has a function, there is no evidence yet that dreaming is more than an epiphenomenon, a functionless byproduct of neural activity.


I find statements like this to be completely intellectually dishonest.

It evaluates a theory (dreaming has a function) by requiring evidence when pitting it against another theory (dreaming is a epiphenomenon, a functionlist byproduct of neural activity) where no such evidential standard is required while implying the latter theory is the prevailing truth.
(This post was last modified: 2021-05-16, 11:00 PM by Silence.)
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My original intention hadn't been only to berate the authors or to criticise, I do have a curiosity about what is being said out there about topics we are interested in.

I had several lines of thought about this.

1. What experimental evidence is there for dream ESP?

2. What does the epiphenomenon explanation say about not just dreaming, but everyday waking consciousness? I'm assuming that normal consciousness is also  regarded as an epiphenomenon. I'm not sure to what extent this is the prevailing view.

3. My personal ways in which I consider dreams to be valuable (in no particular order)
  • telepathy
  • precognition
  • past-life recall
  • source of wisdom and guidance
  • spiritual connection
  • after-death communication
  • everyday problem-solving
  • entertainment
  • humour
  • thought-provoking

Of those, the wisdom/guidance is the one I value most. This sometimes overlaps with others in the list such as precognition or spirituality or humour. Contact with the deceased is also valuable, though for me it is more sparse, whereas guidance can be frequent. (I suppose one could debate whether guidance was also a form of contact with the deceased??)
(This post was last modified: 2021-05-17, 11:34 AM by Typoz.)
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(2021-05-17, 11:31 AM)Typoz Wrote: My original intention hadn't been only to berate the authors or to criticise, I do have a curiosity about what is being said out there about topics we are interested in.

I had several lines of thought about this.

1. What experimental evidence is there for dream ESP?

2. What does the epiphenomenon explanation say about not just dreaming, but everyday waking consciousness? I'm assuming that normal consciousness is also  regarded as an epiphenomenon. I'm not sure to what extent this is the prevailing view.

3. My personal ways in which I consider dreams to be valuable (in no particular order)
  • telepathy
  • precognition
  • past-life recall
  • source of wisdom and guidance
  • spiritual connection
  • after-death communication
  • everyday problem-solving
  • entertainment
  • humour
  • thought-provoking

Of those, the wisdom/guidance is the one I value most. This sometimes overlaps with others in the list such as precognition or spirituality or humour. Contact with the deceased is also valuable, though for me it is more sparse, whereas guidance can be frequent. (I suppose one could debate whether guidance was also a form of contact with the deceased??)

I agree with the above, though I've not experienced all of them. I think at minimum we know people have had mathematical proofs come to them in dreams so there is a non-paranormal record of dreams being incredible useful.

Also lucid dreams seem to have some therapeutic potential.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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  • Typoz
(2021-05-25, 02:26 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: I agree with the above, though I've not experienced all of them. I think at minimum we know people have had mathematical proofs come to them in dreams so there is a non-paranormal record of dreams being incredible useful.

Also lucid dreams seem to have some therapeutic potential.

Yes, I omitted lucid dreams because for me those are not so common. I understand that might be very different for other people - and also that it may be something which it is possible to learn or to become more proficient at through practice.
(This post was last modified: 2021-05-25, 04:27 PM by Typoz.)
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  • Sciborg_S_Patel
Clearly dreaming is not an epiphenomenon in the strict sense. If it were, we would never act on them.

Being more careful, I should say that the memory of the dream is not epiphenomenal.

~~ Paul
If the existence of a thing is indistinguishable from its nonexistence, we say that thing does not exist. ---Yahzi

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