A US researcher says he plans to electronically record and interpret dreams. Writing in the journal Nature, scientists say they have developed a system capable of recording higher level brain activity.
"We would like to read people's dreams," says the lead scientist Dr Moran Cerf. The aim is not to interlope, but to extend our understanding of how and why people dream. For centuries, people have been fascinated by dreams and what they might mean. In Ancient Egypt they were thought to be messages from God.
More recently, dream analysis has been used by psychologists as a tool to understand the unconscious mind. But the only way to interpret dreams is to ask people about the subject of their dreams after they had woken up.
The eventual aim of Dr Cerf's project is to develop a system which would enable psychologists to corroborate people's recollections of their dream with an electronic visualisation of their brain activity.
"There's no clear answer as to why humans dream," according to Dr Cerf. "And one of the questions we would like to answer is when do we actually create this dream?" Dr Cerf makes his bold claim based on an initial study which he says suggests that the activity of individual brain cells, or neurons, are associated with specific objects or concepts.