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    Thread: Study finds that "Dreaming is [indeed] perception unconstrained by sensory input."

    1. #1
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      Study finds that "Dreaming is [indeed] perception unconstrained by sensory input."

      An interesting study by Stephen LaBerge, Benjamin Baird, and Philip G. Zimbardo: "Smooth tracking of visual targets distinguishes lucid REM sleep dreaming and waking perception from imagination":

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6098118/
      Humans are typically unable to engage in sustained smooth pursuit for imagined objects. However, it is unknown to what extent smooth tracking occurs for visual imagery during REM sleep dreaming. Here we examine smooth pursuit eye movements during tracking of a slow-moving visual target during lucid dreams in REM sleep. Highly similar smooth pursuit tracking was observed during both waking perception and lucid REM sleep dreaming, in contrast to the characteristically saccadic tracking observed during visuomotor imagination. Our findings suggest that, in this respect, the visual imagery that occurs during REM sleep is more similar to perception than imagination. The data also show that the neural circuitry of smooth pursuit can be driven by a visual percept in the absence of retinal stimulation and that specific voluntary shifts in the direction of experienced gaze within REM sleep dreams are accompanied by corresponding rotations of the physical eyes.
      This confirms my favorite observation by Stephen LaBerge himself on dreaming and perception:
      Dreaming is perception unconstrained by sensory input. Perception is dreaming constrained by sensory input.
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      It's nice to see Laberge still rocking on Lding !

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      LaBerge et al of course being researchers who want to be seen to work only within the accepted domain of physical reality, had to phrase it very carefully, like they did: "the visual imagery that occurs during REM sleep is more similar to perception than imagination".

      A more provocative way to put it would have been this: "whether awake, or dreaming, one observes something real - not something imaginary". But that surely would have ended their careers.
      So ... is this the real universe, or is it just a preliminary study?

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      I think a useful experiment would be to test how smoothly the eyes can traverse closed versus open. That might be the main difference. I mean they can obviously track something quite smoothly when there's a moving object to focus on, but if there isn't and you're trying to move them across a visual field with all kinds of stuff in it (background objects etc) they have nothing to follow and they keep getting 'stuck' on background points. But if closed my eyes seem to be able to track pretty smoothy in comparison. Of course that said, I don't really know the parameters of the experiment or even precisely what some of the terminology means. But I think it would be the next logical step (if they haven't already tested for that).

      I would also add that imagination tends not to be persistent. Meaning I imagine something, say a moving figure or a car, and it doesn't keep moving smoothly across my field of vision like a real object would. Maybe I can't even sustain an image of a car, or it sort of leaps ahead or I lose sight of it for a second and then it's over there. I think there's even a tendency if you're imagining something moving -- if it gets near the edge of your field of perception you tend to center it again, a sort of 'reset'. These are several things that can explain the difference, and there may well be more.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 01-17-2019 at 11:33 PM.

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