I see animals in a dream

If animals, like us, have dreams, where our furry friends are carried away in their dreams? Jason Goldman is looking for ways to peek into the minds of sleeping cats, birds and other living creatures.

“It was noted that almost all other animals, whether aquatic, aerial or terrestrial, undoubtedly fall into a dream state,” wrote Aristotle in his treatise “On sleep and wakefulness”. But see “other animals” dreams?

This Greek philosopher also had an opinion. In the “History of animals”, he wrote: “Dreams see not only people but also horses, dogs, bulls, sheep, goats and the whole genus of viviparous quadrupeds. This is proved by the fact that dogs bark while you sleep”. Perhaps his methods lacked depth, but it is likely that Aristotle is not too far from the truth.

Of course, we can’t ask animals if they can see dreams, but we at least can say: we have evidence that this is likely. There are two methods used by scientists to solve this seemingly impossible task. The first method is to observe the physical behavior of animals during the different phases of the cycle “sleep-Wake”. The second is whether their brain in the sleep state similarly to how this state operates our brain.

The story of how methods were developed, allowing to look into the minds of sleeping animals, originated in the 1960-ies. At that time in medical journals began to appear fragmented materials describing people who are different in the dream movement. It was curious, because during so-called REM-phase of sleep (from the English. REM – rapid eye movement “rapid eye movement”), also called REM sleep, our muscles generally, as if paralyzed.

Researchers realized that the introduction of a similar condition in animals will help to find out whether they saw the dream and what. In 1965, French scientists Jouvet and Delorme found that removing the cat part of the brain stem called the Pons, prevents immobilization of the muscles during the REM-phase. The researchers called this condition “REM without atonia” or REM-A. Instead of lying motionless in his sleep, cats walked around and aggressively behaved.

This pointed to the fact that animals have actions, usually committed by them in the waking state. Held since then, studies have identified similar behaviours.

According to veterinary neurologist Adrian Morrison, wrote a review on the study of the French, the cat in the REM state-A move his head, as if in response to the pathogen. Some cats exhibit behavior identical to the behavior of a predator attacking the prey, as if they are in my dreams was hunting mice. Similar activity in the dream state and was seen in dogs.

Found that some people in the dream too, like act out scenes from real life – even if they suffer from a condition called behavioral disorders during the REM phase of sleep. In accordance with the International classification of sleep disorders (mCRs), “during sleep, people can strike blows with fists, kicking, jump out of bed and even run. Such manifestations are very frequent and usually described are consistent with the (then) dreams”. For such people (and those who sleep near them!) injuries are not uncommon, it is underlined in mCRs.

However, observation of the movements of sleeping is not the only way to look into their dreams. Today researchers can study electrical and chemical processes in brain cells of animals without causing any harm to the latter.

In 2007, scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of technology Kenuey Louis and Matthew Wilson recorded the activity of neurons in the part of the brain of the rat, which is called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is involved in the mechanisms of formation of emotions and memory consolidation. First, scientists have recorded the activity of these brain cells while rats ran through a maze. They then turned their attention on the activity of the same neurons when the rats were sleeping. Luis and Wilson found that the scheme of excitation of neurons in the process of running and during the REM-phases are very similar. In other words, there was a feeling that in the dream the rats are mentally running around in the maze.

The results were so apparent that the researchers were able to conclude the exact location of the rats in their mental mazes and to project these places for real points in the real maze.

Biologists from the University of Chicago Amish Dave and Daniel Margoliash studied the Zebra Finch brain and found something similar. Songs these representatives of the family of finches very popular with bird lovers, laid them in the head from birth, their melodies they have to learn. When finches are awake, neurons in the front part of the brain called robutus archistriatalis are, responding to individual notes of their songs. Based on the template “run” of these neurons, the researchers learned how to determine which note was sung. After some time, systematized the electric model of what is happening in these neurons, Dave and Margoliash was able to reconstruct the whole song from beginning to end.

Later, when the birds were asleep, Dave and Margoliash again examined the electrical activity in the same part of their brain. The excitation of the neurons was not completely random. On the contrary, they are activated in order, like a bird loudly, note for note, would the whole song. It turns out in my sleep finches were rehearsing their songs.
they probably dream about each other.

Can actually the behavior of sleeping cats in scientific experiments to determine how what they dream? Is there a rats a subjective awareness that they mentally run through their mazes, while in the dream state? Guess whether songbirds, they sing in their sleep? These are the questions as difficult to answer as other associated with consciousness. All too ambiguous.

Even we humans do not always understand in the dream that awake – but it turns out, as soon as we Wake up. Remember finches their dreams as dreams when awake? Are they able to distinguish the real world from the world that exists in dreams?

With a fair amount of certainty we can say that physiological and behavioral features of dreams of the person are also observed in cats, rats, birds and other animals. However what it in reality – to dream, if you don’t people? While still a mystery.

As reported , as a result of opening, which casts doubt on the validity of a large number of studies conducted on animals revealed that mice do not like the smell of men. Scientists have found that even the presence of the t-shirt worn by a man, is enough to trigger mouse stress response, can even dull the sense of pain in rodents.

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