Dreams: Night School by Jay Dixit
This article focuses on dreams. The author asks the question, “What activities are going on when we are sleeping?” First of a rat was experimented on how their lack of “dreams” would effect how they react to different scenarios testing their survival skills. This rat was isolated in a water bath, with an inverted flowerpot with a hole in the middle in the bath. In able to sleep, the rat would have to climb up and stretch so it would not fall down the hole. When the rat was about to reach a “dreaming state” called REM state, it body would relax and eventually fall down the hole.
After several days of dreamless sleep, the rat was ready to be tested for their survival skills. These skills don’t have to be learned; they are natural skills – instincts – that enable the rat species to survive until now. The results of these tests were overwhelming; the rats performed poorly in every scenario they faced. For example when the rats are placed in an open field, instead of hurrying for safety for a more sheltered area, they lingered around the area. The dreamless rats obviously would make an easy target in the wild.
To confirm the effect of dreams, amphetamines, a drug used to stimulate the central nervous system and to make the subject feel more energetic, was used to cancel the effect of sleep deprivation. As a result, the rat still performed poorly, so a question is raised: “These rats perform poorly not because they are sleepy, but what is going on?”
Many scientists and philosophers have many concepts on why we dream. Dreams are more of stories of random neuron firings, Finnish psychologist Antti Revonsuo thought that rats lose their ability to defend themselves because they are lack of dreams. Revensuo’s definition of dream is: “A training ground in which animals and people alike go over the behaviors that are key to their survival.” He explained that the rats’ behaviors are caused by their...