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    Thread: Dreaming and the Prefrontal Cortex

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      Dreaming and the Prefrontal Cortex



      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

      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.
      Last edited by louie54; 03-26-2010 at 06:07 AM.

    2. #2
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      Thanks for sharing! Just a few questions... how exactly does one become lucid while their DLPFC is inactive? If this is the area that controls logic, and it is deactivated, then what causes it to suddenly become active again? We would need at least some sense of awareness or logic to recognize the illogical, thus activating this area of the brain, right? Also, how does this explain semi-lucidity? Are there levels of activation/deactivation?

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      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Aquanina View Post
      Thanks for sharing! Just a few questions... how exactly does one become lucid while their DLPFC is inactive? If this is the area that controls logic, and it is deactivated, then what causes it to suddenly become active again? We would need at least some sense of awareness or logic to recognize the illogical, thus activating this area of the brain, right? Also, how does this explain semi-lucidity? Are there levels of activation/deactivation?
      Those are some damn good questions Aqua. As I've said earlier (without specifying) that some parts of the prefrontal cortex are reactivated and sometimes to levels that exceed normal waking activity. One of them is called ventromedial.

      Ventromedial- This region (known to engage what is considered "default mode" of brain function) processes risk, fear, and decision making sometimes in goal-oriented behavior. Also responsible for social behavior.

      I'm sure there are a ton of explanations, but I'm sure memory also plays a big role with this. I'll look into it.

      Edit: This is about hippocampal activity.

      In summary, a small percentage (1%–2%) of waking experiences transfer from waking to sleep in humans. Freud termed this the “day-residue” which can be incorporated into dreams.
      I think this mixed with reality checking and mantras, could cause activation of the DLPFC. This is one example of course from another article. Oh and if you don't mind, could you edit the OP and hit "enter" a couple of times to bring down the article a little bit. Give it some space. I think it would look better.
      Last edited by louie54; 03-26-2010 at 06:49 AM.

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      Hmmm... that little bit of information is very interesting and makes quite a bit of sense. The logic center of the brain is inactive in the dreaming state. That could explain why there "naturals" who can become lucid at will from birth and people who must "learn" to become lucid: their brains are wired differently. Rewiring the brain may be part of the process of becoming a lucid dreamer; this could explain why there needs to be a long period of time before most people can have their first lucid dreams.

      Thanks for sharing.
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      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      I appreciate the feedback My goal here is to spread out this information. I think it's a good thing for people from our community to learn this.

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      Reaility Surfer beachgirl's Avatar
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      yes... the key question is how to activate the area.
      any other theories besides RCs?
      some people think that it is just a matter of brain chemistry as to why some are better at this than others
      and others feel it's training, etc
      i still am not sure... probably both.
      after all babies are great at going into REM!
      fun post, thanks
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      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      Yeah once I get more time, I'll be sure to check out the deeper details. I'm sure there are a lot of explanations such as the brain working together and the hippocampal region (long term memory) sending messages to this DLPFC area, but I can't prove that at the moment.

      I forgot to mention that the term "deactivated" doesn't actually literally mean "deactivated". There is still some activity but very little, which would allow us to question reality later in a dream.

      I'll provide more details later.

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      They should put this in the tutorial section.

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      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      I believe that will be up to the Dream Guides.

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      The world is open source <span class='glow_FFA500'>LiveInTheDream</span>'s Avatar
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      I second that this should be in the tutorials area!

      I've heard a lot of fuzzy logic about the logic center of the brain (pun intended) but this actually makes sense, and with the scientific terms for everything it's really easy to research even further!

      Thanks!


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      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      I guess I can ask a dream guide for their input.

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      This would explain why there is pain in that portion of my head on a daily basis. The more dreams that become lucid is the more this muscle is exercised.

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      Unfolding Onierogen Hijo de la Luna's Avatar
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      Keldario, your brain feels no pain & has no muscular cell structure. You have muscles and tendons in your scalp; both the scalp & skull have nerve endings and can feel pain. Scientifically lucid dreaming is not a muscular phenomenon.

      Energetically you could explain this better in my opinion.

      And you might want to find someway to massage that muscle or relieve tension in it if that makes any sense
      Thought plus emotion creates attitude. Attitude plus action creates experience and experience determines reality

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      Oneironaut Emkinator's Avatar
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      Thank you for this. Very informative.

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      I stumbled upon this post and enjoyed it, but the thing I enjoyed most was Hijo de la Luna's signature, very interesting.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Hijo de la Luna View Post
      Keldario, your brain feels no pain & has no muscular cell structure. You have muscles and tendons in your scalp; both the scalp & skull have nerve endings and can feel pain. Scientifically lucid dreaming is not a muscular phenomenon.

      Energetically you could explain this better in my opinion.

      And you might want to find someway to massage that muscle or relieve tension in it if that makes any sense
      Yes, very true. I did not mean a muscle as in literally, but figuretively. Yes, our bodies are light in the shape of meat and crazy energy courses through our meat vessels and makes strange pains which are ways of the universe communicating with us. For sure.

      So you are saying that when I have a headache, my brain isn't what is hurting, by my nerves picking up the pain information from the brain and translating it into the actual pain?

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      Very concise and interesting! Not being any kind of expert, I have very little clue about the brain, but I had a thought. As I understand it, electrical signals along neural pathways are responsible for most of the stuff the brain does, and when a section is "activated", it means the signals are flowing there. Would it be possible to externally stimulate a section of the brain somehow using an electrical charge? If it could be done to the DLPFC while in REM sleep, would that effectively make a lucidity "switch"? Please feel free to tear this idea apart, I'm just thinking out loud.
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      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      Yes actually, there was a thread not too long ago somewhere in the Research area.

      http://dreamviews.com/community/showthread.php?t=80074

      This sort of inspired me to look into it more, and eventually wrote this tutorial to sort of spread the word of why exactly we are never lucid.
      J.D. likes this.

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      Member HelixR's Avatar
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      I'm quite sure that this part of our brain is "inactive" for a reason. Think about it, if we were logically thinking for our whole entire life then it may have an impact on the organ itself, which is extremely vital. It could shorten our life-span or cause us to not think logically as well. I would suggest, if possible, to not cause this part of your brain to be active 24/7. Lucid dreaming is most likely fine. But just imagine the consequences to messing with our logic.

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      If I'm not wrong...our prospective memory is there, so working with it, helps activating it more in dreaming process. MILD is basically a work with prospective memory.
      So, good evidences you have got there!!

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      I approve of the general motion to bring the brain into thoughts about lucid dreaming, but it's important to keep in mind how little we really know. The brain is not currently known to be modular for higher-level functions, and in fact that seems highly unlikely as far as we can tell. To say that a specific part of the brain 'does logic' or 'is responsible for self-awareness' is very misleading at best.

      The brain is a ridiculously complex organ, and those who spend their entire lives studying it still have little clue as to its actual functioning. If an explanation about a higher-level mental process' physical underpinnings is simple enough for a non-specialist to understand, you can be fairly sure that it's not going to be remotely accurate.

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      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      Well I appreciate your little input. I'm just trying to bring a little more of an understanding (or at least a basic one) of why we don't know why we're dreaming. I know there must be so many more explanations (that we know at this point) that would be tied in with this lone area, but in my opinion, I just get a little tired of people saying "the logic center". I want our community to know a bit more.

      If you want, I can link you a source.

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      louie54: I like the content, and as a critical thinker and psychology student (meaning I'm probably going to find your sources and read more of what you read ), I must ask where you acquired your information? What are your (specific) sources? (I say specific because I see names up there. )
      Last edited by Clyde Machine; 05-08-2010 at 06:01 AM.
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      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      Shift gave them to me so I could use them for a presentation in my psychology class which my topic was dreaming. I have like 7 articles. I'll try to attach it for you so hold on...

      Edit: Here you go Let me know if you guys want anymore
      Attached Files
      Last edited by louie54; 05-10-2010 at 05:54 AM.

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      http://bit.ly/GoToCME Clyde Machine's Avatar
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      Thank you very much.
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