The stuff of dreams

Computer program decodes dreams, finds similar brain activity patterns for objects seen while asleep or awake

By Stephen Ornes, 14:52 PM April 18, 2013

Scientists recently used a computer program to decode patterns of brain activity displayed during a dream. They found that a certain object was linked with a particular pattern, and that pattern was similar whether the object was seen while awake or asleep. Credit: iStockphoto

Computers don’t dream — but they can help us understand how we do.

In a recent experiment, a computer program successfully identified some contents of people’s dreams. The program compared people’s brain activity when they were both awake and asleep. It identified that seeing a certain object produced a particular pattern of brain activity. And it found that pattern was similar for an object whether it was seen in waking life or dreamy slumber.

Neuroscientist Yukiyasu Kamitani led the ex...

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