Dreaming and the Prefrontal Cortex
Welcome to Lucid Dreaming and the Prefrontal Cortex! This tutorial explains the physiological aspects of the brain that affects dream logic (as some commonly refer to as the logic center).
The Prefrontal Cortex
The region of our brain which we exercise constructive thought and rational behavior is located in the frontal part of the brain (hence prefrontal cortex). Neurologist Allan J. Hobson studied this section with sleep and dreaming in contrast to waking. Hobson discovered that there is a more specific part of the prefrontal cortex that is impaired while we sleep that can be reactivated while still dreaming.
Dorsolaterl Prefrontal Cortex
The Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (abbreviated DLPFC) is responsible for constructive memory, rational thinking, and self-awareness. Hobson found that this section is active when awake, but becomes inactive while we sleep. The Prefrontal Cortex itself becomes deactivated in NREM. As NREM progresses, deactivation increases and is maintained in transition from NREM to REM. However, other parts of this region become reactivated with the onset of REM but still no Dorsolateral activation.
In other words, DLPFC is normally inactive when we dream and sleep, hindering your logic, causing you to accept the bizarre nature of dreams.
The area marked in red is the location of DLPFC.
Becoming lucid means that a certain part of your brain needs to reactivate itself. You guessed it, DLPFC. Normally only while awake, it is possible for the DLPFC to become activated while dreaming, rendering lucidity. With this, you are now able to think logically, explicitly remember what you want to do, and more importantly, become aware that you are dreaming.