I’ve never cared much for dream interpretation. Most of our remembered dreams have always seemed like our minds filling gaps in dreams with our previous experiences and perceptions. Sorry to the psychoanalytic/psychodynamic people out there, but I never bought into it.
This is actually pretty amazing. Scientists have begun to reconstruct images from dreams and hallucinations.
It sounds like science fiction: While volunteers watched movie clips, a scanner watched their brains. And from their brain activity, a computer made rough reconstructions of what they viewed.
The reconstructions are blends of the YouTube snippets, which makes them blurry. Some are better than others. If a human appeared in the original clip, a human form generally showed up in the reconstruction. But one clip that showed elephants walking left to right led to a reconstruction that looked like “a shambling mound,” Gallant said. The YouTube clips hadn’t shown elephants and so “we just had to make do with what we had.”
The quality could be improved by better techniques to blend human forms, as well as a bigger storehouse of moving images, he said.
Still, the overall results are “one of the most impressive demonstrations of the scientific knowledge of how the visual system works,” said Marcel Just, director of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University.
Think about the possibilities. How much would you pay to have your dreams reconstructed? What about visual representations of schizophrenic hallucinations? Could we apply this technology to coma patients and see what they are experiencing? This is a peek inside the human mind AND the human visual system.