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Science

DARPA Funds Research Into a Network-Based Interpretation of Dreams 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-was-funneled-into-a-distortive-hub-by-percolative-clowns dept.
KentuckyFC writes "Despite the universal experience of dreaming, psychologists and neuroscientists have little understanding of its purpose and mechanisms, or how it varies from one culture to another. So new approaches to oneirology, or dream research, are always welcome. Now a DARPA-funded research team is using network science to analyse dreams for the first time. Dreams have become amenable to network studies because dream reports and their interpretations are now widely available on the web in repositories such as UC Santa Cruz's Dreambank. The DARPA team crawled these databases in English, Chinese and Arabic for symbols that appear in dreams and their descriptions. They then created a network for each language by treating symbols as nodes and linking them to other nodes with similar descriptions. They then searched the networks for regions of more densely connected nodes that form communities. For example, in English, symbols such as 'ladder,' 'hill' and 'goal" form just such a community, representing 'achievement after a struggle.' Finally, they compared the communities from different languages to look for similarities. The results show that dream symbols seem to be connected in similar ways regardless of the cultural background of the dreamers. That provides a new window into the cultural links between dreams experienced by people in different parts of the world."
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DARPA Funds Research Into a Network-Based Interpretation of Dreams

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  • by Tablizer (95088)

    April 1st coming early this year

  • What is this really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by muhula (621678) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @08:17PM (#46341107)
    This study doesn't have to do with dreams so much as word association. If you think that multiple cultures having similar dream interpretation reinforces anything about what the dreams actually mean, you'd be a bit misled
    • by icebike (68054)

      And if you think you see a rational reason why DARPA should be involved you would be further misled:

      Just how this work fits in to DARPA’s broader mission to create breakthrough technologies for national security is rather obscure. But a better understanding of the similarities and differences between cultures is surely in everyone’s interests.

      Maybe the Borg is closer than we think!

      • by dcollins117 (1267462) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @08:51PM (#46341405)

        And if you think you see a rational reason why DARPA should be involved you would be further misled:

        They have an interest in keeping soldiers in good working order and that includes mental health. Whether dream reasearch can further that goal is an open question, but as long as they are willing to fund the research, I don't see a problem with it. Who knows? Maybe it will help, maybe it will be a dead end. Let's do the science and find out.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Classic work for anthropologists, linguistics and translators with deep internet searching and great gov funding :)
      The main aspect would be to get a first hint of any forum posts about political ideas - even via dreams and "who" is doing the interpretation.
      Basically the jargon needed to shape and infiltrate any new age or faith based or cult around the world or just mess with their forums if they become interesting..
      The wider public gets hints of such efforts e.g. The Human Terrain System (HTS) http://e [wikipedia.org]
  • Damn. Smartest guy in the room.

    I will totally be using that one tomorrow.

  • by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @08:27PM (#46341189)

    Fix the headline!

    "DARPA funds psychic friends network"

    !!!

  • by Anna Merikin (529843) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @08:39PM (#46341293) Journal

    Toward a digital Tarot. From Wikipedia : Tarot: "From the late 18th century until the present time the tarot has also found use by mystics and occultists in efforts at divination or as a map of mental and spiritual pathways...."

    What, exactly, is the difference between a digital map of "closely connected symbolic nodes" on a network and a "map of mental and spiritual pathways?

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      It really depends on the funding, time in history and needed results.
      From psychological analysis of leaders to trying to shape their faith or change/out pace the mystics they use.
      Telling a leader that larger historical forces are at work might distract them from military reports or intelligence leaking reality.
      Start a coup too early, late based on faith based guidance and a friendly gov stays in power.
      Start a grass roots protest too late and a friendly dictator stays in power or can change the message
  • The boss is gonna be pissed if you don't wake up and get your ass back to work. :P

  • And then suddenly fall like a rock tword a large uncaring abyss with the screams of a uncountable more poor souls filling my ears as we collectively rush onward to an inevitable shared oblivion:
    That's about packet loss?

    • by stoploss (2842505)

      And then suddenly fall like a rock tword a large uncaring abyss with the screams of a uncountable more poor souls filling my ears as we collectively rush onward to an inevitable shared oblivion:
      That's about packet loss?

      No. It's about Beta.

  • ...is just a penis

  • Will they discover what electric sheep dream of?

  • I once had a dream where I was sleeping on the floor behind the couch in my dad's living room. A cat jumped over me, waking me up. Then an alpaca looked over the back of the couch and started bleating at me. More like screaming, really. It turned around and tried to climb backwards over the back of the couch, and I had to hold its foot to keep it on that side so it wouldn't step on me. Then I noticed that it was starting to shit. The extreme terror of being trapped underneath a shitting alpaca mercifully wo
  • ...about the second letter of the Greek alphabet [wikipedia.org] and I always wake in a cold, cold sweat, screaming "oh my God, NO!" Can't figure out what it means.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @11:20PM (#46342433) Homepage Journal

    Who knows what DARPA is really doing and how much of this is just part of the "4 D's", (Deny, Disrupt, Degrade, Deceive).

    https://firstlook.org/theinter... [firstlook.org]

    But forget DARPA for a moment. Since we're talking about dreams, if you have ever considered learning to have lucid dreams, you really ought to go ahead and do it. It's terrific.

    I started playing around with the idea in 2010, and it took me a few months but now I've learned to lucid dream at will. It's the most goddamn fun you can have asleep. Plus, it's really useful. I've done things like solve problems in dreams and have the solution at hand when I wake up (it's not always going to actually solve the problem, but it will always make you think about the problem difficulty) and I've even been able to learn to play pieces of music that I'd previously found very difficulty, by playing them in my dreams, even to the point of seeing the score (it's not exactly the same, but it seems to me that if you rehearse something in a lucid dream, it actually helps you in practice when you try it awake).

    Honestly. Give it a try. There are plenty of primers on how to do it available. It's easy, you just have to be patient and practice something called a "state test" at various times through the day. It can be as easy as looking at a street sign, and then looking away for a moment and then looking back to see if it says the same thing. The idea is, that you are testing to see if you are awake or in a dream. Then, when you have practiced this a while, you'll be dreaming and you'll do a state test and then WHOA! you'll realize your dreaming and then it's off to the races. There are other techniques too.

    Lucid dreaming can make your dream life a blast.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      but it will always make you think about the problem difficulty

      Sorry, I meant to say, "...it will always make you think about the problem differently"

    • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

      idea in 2010, and it took me a few months but now I've learned to lucid dream at will. It's the most goddamn fun you can have asleep. Plus, it's really useful. I've done things like solve problems in dreams and have the solution at hand when I wake up (it's not always going to actually solve the problem, but it will always make you think about the problem difficulty)

      I've used dreaming to solve problems for years, long before what I knew what lucid dreaming was. It's really freaky, fun, and funny when it's a group project with a difficult problem, and I would wake having it solved. Almost always the last dream of the night. My better half usually knows when I've solved something also.

      Freaks the co-workers out, so I come up with another explanation if they don't know me well.

      And it isn't magic either. During the day, I am confronted with a lot of different problems,

    • My main problem with lucid dreaming is that once I know I'm dreaming, I tend to wake up. Also, my dream life is a blast without doing the lucid thing.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        Also, my dream life is a blast without doing the lucid thing.

        Sure, dreaming was always fun. But there is absolutely nothing like being able to regain agency in the dream state.

        Seriously, if you're a vivid dreamer, you're halfway there. Give it a try. You'll wake up upon gaining dream awareness for a while, and then you won't. And once you have that experience of not waking up when becoming aware of being in a dream, you'll wish you had learned the technique sooner.

        • Also, my dream life is a blast without doing the lucid thing.

          Sure, dreaming was always fun. But there is absolutely nothing like being able to regain agency in the dream state.

          Seriously, if you're a vivid dreamer, you're halfway there. Give it a try. You'll wake up upon gaining dream awareness for a while, and then you won't. And once you have that experience of not waking up when becoming aware of being in a dream, you'll wish you had learned the technique sooner.

          Seriously, I have given it a try. It's just that I'm already such a light sleeper, that awareness of sleeping is enough to wake me, pretty much every time. Enough so that if I become aware I'm dreaming, I try to convince myself that I'm not.

    • by Udom (978789)
      Charles Bonnet Syndrome. Some people who lose their vision report florid visual hallucinations, and anyone who spends a day wearing a blindfold is likely to experience them as well. We assume that we see with our eyes, but the eyes are only the start point. The brain takes the raw information feed and constructs our visual reality for us. When you're dreaming that system is constructing a visual reality disconnected from the usual input from the eyes. The majority of theories we hear about the nature of dr
  • Dreams are just the garbage disposal of human memory after a day of accumulating cruft. If you do a memory dump _during_ the garbage disposal of a software, of course you'll end up with pieces that contain _some_ info, more or less connected to other pieces of info. It's not entirely random, but it's not interesting either. There was a lamba-calculus paper a decade ago that proved that any sufficiently advanced computation required a garbage collection, and the obvious conclusion was that dreams are just th
  • To sum it up in 3 words:
    Carl Gustav Jung.

  • Please? I have a sleep disorder called Sleep Paralysis. [wikipedia.org] In other words I have waking dreams. Before and after (and sometimes during) sleep my body will become paralyzed, and I hear the rushing sound of my brain waves shifting into a sleep pattern -- I stay conscious while my body (and brain) goes to sleep. During sleep random neurons fire in the brain. I experience a very wide range of stimulus (read "tiny hallucinations") which I can discern individually. When a neuron cascade happens in my visual co

  • This is moving in the direction of transition we are currently going through but here science trying to understand it. Where in the process science will mostly just produce supporting research of the merging of our consciousness with our subconscious. Accessing the last link in the article a mention of the iliad caught my attention as I know Julian Jaynes uses the Iliad and the Odyssey to show difference between functioning in a subconscious state and of functioning in a conscious state. As such I updated a

  • DARPA funded Horoscope research, and we can safely do anything we like with the masses.

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