Research and scientific advances in sleep are always fascinating. For many people, dreaming is an important tool for self-discovery. A study conducted by a team of neuroscientists from the United States, Italy and Switzerland discovered the so-called hot zone .
The hot zone is an area of the brain whose activity seems to indicate the moment in which dreams are produced and which could also help us to reveal their content. It has also been discovered that we do not dream only in the REM phase. Very interesting discoveries regarding the unconscious.
The team monitored the electrical activity of the brains of 32 people in a sleep clinic for 5 to 10 nights. Participants were often awakened to report their experiences of any dreams they had while sleeping. The researchers wanted to know if they remembered part of the dream, the complete dream, or if they remembered nothing.
The difference from previous studies is that in this case the brain activity was monitored with a helmet that contained 256 cables and allowed to have a more complete view than those usually obtained in sleep clinics.
The team found that part of the brain tends to activate significantly during the dream experience. This “hot zone” is located in the parieto-occipital region of the cerebral cortex. It would appear to be the neural correlate of dreams.
When this area is stimulated during wakefulness, there is a feeling of “being in a parallel world or in a dream”. This is certainly a fascinating finding that would seem to suggest that consciousness is located in a posterior area and not in the frontal and parietal lobes as previously thought.
Hot zone : opinions
There are conflicting opinions regarding the possibility that this study technique could reveal the content of dreams. Harvard Medical School Psychiatry Professor Dr. Stickgold does not believe this is the result of the research.
Believes that remembered dreams and forgotten dreams have a different electrical activity. However, he shares the idea that this research can lead to the unraveling of one of the greatest mysteries of the human being: the nature and origin of consciousness.
The idea that different areas of the brain act differently during sleep has been shared for about a decade by several researchers. The suspicion was there, but sufficient empirical evidence was lacking.
Future studies on the hot zone
In the future, the idea of stimulating the hot zone of patients who are in a state of coma, with epileptic seizures or under total anesthesia is contemplated .
Researchers agree that in the future, research will give access to other states of human consciousness, as well as allow understanding which brain areas are involved. Perhaps we will also discover the exact area where consciousness is and how we connect with it. It will depend on who and how they interpret it. This is the proof of an exciting topic that opens the way to new discoveries every day.