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"A truly comprehensive, scientifically rigorous and utterly fascinating account of when, how, and why we dream. Put simply, When Brains Dream is the essential guide to dreaming." —Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep
Questions on the origins and meaning of dreams are as old as humankind, and as confounding and exciting today as when nineteenth-century scientists first attempted to unravel them. Why do we dream? Do dreams hold psychological meaning or are they merely the reflection of random brain activity? What purpose do dreams serve?
When Brains Dream addresses these core questions about dreams while illuminating the most up-to-date science in the field. Written by two world-renowned sleep and dream researchers, it debunks common myths that we only dream in REM sleep, for example—while acknowledging the mysteries that persist around both the science and experience of dreaming.
Antonio Zadra and Robert Stickgold bring together state-of-the-art neuroscientific ideas and findings to propose a new and innovative model of dream function called NEXTUP—Network Exploration to Understand Possibilities. By detailing this model’s workings, they help readers understand key features of several types of dreams, from prophetic dreams to nightmares and lucid dreams. When Brains Dream reveals recent discoveries about the sleeping brain and the many ways in which dreams are psychologically, and neurologically, meaningful experiences; explores a host of dream-related disorders; and explains how dreams can facilitate creativity and be a source of personal insight.
Making an eloquent and engaging case for why the human brain needs to dream, When Brains Dream offers compelling answers to age-old questions about the mysteries of sleep.
Psychologist Zadra and psychiatry professor Stickgold team up for this thorough look into "the relationship between brains, minds, and dreams." To answer such questions as what dreams are and what they mean, the authors present a history of dreaming (and note that German psychologist Karl Scherner's 1861 book on the ego and dream symbolism predated Freud's better-known The Interpretation of Dreams) and bring things up to the present with a discussion of work done with fMRI, a kind of imaging that allows researchers to see which parts of the brain are active in stages of sleep. At the heart of the work is the authors' Network Exploration to Understand Possibilities (NEXTUP) model, which proposes that dreaming is a "form of sleep-dependent memory processing" in which human brains connect dots they couldn't when awake. The authors follow the implications of this model, touching on such dream-related disorders as sleep paralysis, which they argue is a dream dysfunction because it is "of no use for memory processing." Like art, they conclude, dreaming "enriches our life while helping to guide us." This smart mix of science and theory hits the mark.