Do REM (lucid) dreamed and executed actions share the same neural substrate?

Daniel Erlacher, Michael Schredl

Abstract


This paper addresses the correlation of dreamed and actual actions. This issue is related to the theory of neural simulation of action. The simulation theory postulates that, in general, covert actions are actual actions relying on the same brain regions, except for the fact that they are not executed. By reviewing studies conducted in the field of dream and lucid dream research on REM sleep it will be shown that correlations between dreamed and actual actions can be found for central nervous activity, autonomic responses and time aspects. Recent findings from research on lucid dreaming and motor learning further support the notion that actions in dreams are represented on higher cognitive levels - equivalent to actual movements - and therefore share, to some extent, the same central structures. The reviewed findings will be discussed and future directions will be given.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11588/ijodr.2008.1.20

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