Thursday, August 24, 2006

Are Dreams Undirected Planning Sequences?

I had a thought. Say we have mental models of the world available for planning, and we can direct our planning sequences (i.e. trains of thought) through imagined spaces in order to achieve some goal. That's in the awake state. During dreaming, there is reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex, an area that is usually associated with planning/judgment. Maybe when we dream, our minds move through the same imagined spaces, but they do so in an undirected manner because the high-level planning control center is turned off. It's like the car is still moving, but no one's in the driver's seat. Without the prefrontal cortex, we can't really judge the absurdity of different situations, which explains why dreams always seem normal until we wake up.

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