Dreams and the Resolution of the Mind

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Our mind’s eye is a space in our heads where memories, images, and sounds all come together in a roiling sea of thoughts. Given that, just how clear is the “vision” of this eye? According to Robert Stickgold, a Harvard University psychiatrist, the resolution of our so-called dreamscape is constrained. He offers a few quick tests you can try at home to gauge your own mind’s eye, and he shares his unique insights into our perception of meaning while in a dream.

More from this series: Mind after Midnight

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Date: Friday June 3, 2011
Time: 08:00 PM-09:30 PM
Venue: NYU Kimmel Center, Eisner & Lubin Auditorium
Moderator: Carl Zimmer
Participants: Carlos H. Schenck, Matthew Wilson, Niels Rattenborg

We spend a third of our lives asleep. Every organism on Earth—from rats to dolphins to fruit flies to microorganisms—relies on sleep for its survival, yet science is still wrestling with a fundamental question: Why does sleep exist? During Shakespeare and Cervantes' time, sleep was likened to death, with body and mind falling into a deep stillness before resurrecting each new day. In reality, sleep is a flurry of action. Trillions of neurons light up. The endocrine system kicks into overdrive. The bloodstream is flooded with a...[Read more]