Why do we dream?

poster presented at SLEEP 2022

During sleep, the human consciousness endures in an altered state, with the mind and brain active but disconnected from external input, giving rise to the peculiar sequences of thought and imagery known as “dreaming.” Despite extensive efforts to comprehend this unique state of consciousness, a dependable neurophysiological indicator of dreaming has remained elusive. The purpose of dreaming has long perplexed scholars, with theories suggesting involvement in emotional experience processing, yet the specific mechanism remains unknown. This project addresses these gaps by identifying a reliable biomarker for the dreaming experience through EEG and investigating the role of dreaming in emotional memory processing.

Related publications:

• Zhang, J., & Wamsley, E. J. (2019). EEG predictors of dreaming outside of REM sleep. Psychophysiology, 56(7). https://doi.org/10.1111/psyp.13368

• Zhang, J., Pena, A., , Delano. N., … Mednick, C. S. (submitted). Dream to Forget: Evidence for an active role of dreaming in emotional memory processing.

Jing Zhang
Jing Zhang
Postdoctoral Researcher

Postdoc researching sleep and memory