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

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 dcollins117 ( 1267462 ) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @09:51PM (#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.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban