Both dreams and nightmares are curious enigmas. Some say that dreams come from stress, while others see dreams as visions with important messages in impartation. Whether our dreams mean anything or not, they are varied from person to person. Lucid dreaming is a whole other subject.
What is Lucid Dreaming?
When we dream, we either see in great detail or vague representations. Sometimes we are able to control our dreams and our senses may be heightened. We may even be able to understand that we are in a dream while walking among the imaginations of sleep. New study suggests that lucid dreaming may, in fact, have a direct correlation with self-reflection when awake.
Scientists from Max Plank Institute suggest that, the anterior prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain responsible for self-reflection, is larger in lucid dreamers.
“Self-reflection is more in-depth with persons who feel able to control the content of their dreams,” said lead author of this study, Elisa Filevich.
To be able to dream whatever you wish sounds very desirable. Many scientists believe that metacognition is to blame. No one thought about testing this idea at the neural level, until now.
Studying this ability includes tests that delve into the root of this skill, gift or however you see lucid dreaming. Researchers had to first develop a questionnaire that examined the lucid dreaming ability in order to understand the results. Participants of the study were then separated into groups depending on the frequency of this sensual controlled dreaming. Test results of structural and functional MRI scans were examined and compared by researchers.
These test results were published in the Journal of Neuroscience. They reveal that lucid dreamers do, in fact, not only have increased activity in the anterior prefrontal cortex of the brain, but also have a larger region as well. Since this area has control of conscious cognitive processes, this explains the ability to have a higher tendency of self-reflection.
There is definitely a connection between metacognitive thinking and lucid dreaming. Studies suggest that these two abilities share a neural network. Further studies will involve teaching people how to improve metacognitive thinking through inducing lucid dreaming. This could greatly improve the quality of self-esteem or life as a whole.
art by Cyril Rolando aka AquaSixio
Sherrie is a freelance writer and artist with over 10 years of experience. She spends most of her time giving life to the renegade thoughts. As the words erupt and form new life, she knows that she is yet again free from the nagging persistence of her muse. She is a mother of three and a lifetime fan of the thought provoking and questionable aspects of the universe.