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Those who often recall their dreams respond more strongly to their name

Dreaming remains one of the great mysteries of human cognition. It is still not fully known when occur, and which mechanisms in the brain produce them. A major difficulty for studying is that they leave only a fleeting memory upon awakening.

Perrine Ruby and colleagues from the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center chose a new approach to investigate dreaming. They recorded of two groups of participants: high recallers who recall dreams nearly every day and low recallers who recall a once or twice a month. (electroencephalogram) was recorded while they were hearing first names before and during sleep.

From the analysis of oscillatory brain signals, high and low dream recallers were found to differentially process first names during wakefulness, suggesting different functional organization of the brain in the two groups. Moreover, high dream recallers showed more intra-sleep wakefulness than low dream recallers.

Together with previous findings, these results suggest a greater brain reactivity in high than in low dream recallers which would facilitate awakenings during sleep and therefore dream memorisation

Article title: Alpha reactivity to first names differs in subjects with high and low dream recall frequency

Journal: Frontiers in Psychology; DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00419