Get out of my dreams

Yeah, it was like that, but with blueberry muffins, too.

Yeah, it was like that, but with blueberry muffins, too.

Question: What do Marilyn Monroe, neurotransmitters and P. Diddy have in common?

Answer: The ability to invade my dreams.

New research from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena reports that scientists there have discovered that electrodes can reportedly record neuron activity in the part of the brain that controls memory.

Results of the study, published in the latest issue of the journal Nature, report that when test subjects were shown images of famous people such as Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe, scientists were able to isolate which individual neurons repeatedly responded to those images. The lead researcher, Dr. Moran Cerf, told BBC News that the aim was to eventually be able to “record dreams.”

Scientific American breaks it down:

“[Scientists then] showed the subject two images superimposed on each other. Each was 50 percent faded out.

The subjects were told to think about one of the images and enhance it. They were given ten seconds, during which time the scientists ran the firing of the relevant neurons through a decoder. They fed the decoded information back into the superimposed images, fading the image whose neuron was firing more slowly and enhancing the image whose neuron was firing more quickly.

Watching this on-line feedback, the subjects were able to make their targeted image completely visible, and entirely eliminate the distracting image, in more than two thirds of trials, and they learnt to do so very quickly.”

Whew … for a second I thought someone would be hooking up a DVR to my brain and recording that totally weird dream I had last night about my kitten turning into a stuffed squirrel.

Actually, that dream was quite tame, but I seriously have weird ones—recurring ones in which P. Diddy is trying to kill me, scary ones about flying tigers and blueberry muffins (it’s hard to explain)—and while it’s intriguing to think that I could record these images for further scrutiny, there’s also a big part of me that prefers keeping a little mystery (and privacy) when it comes to my subconscious.