It is increasingly becoming evident that dreams are essential for long term memory and creativity. Various research projects undertaken in the past two decades have deduced that dreams are not random and meaningless, but have a greater significance.
A recent study strengthens this theory. Sara Mednick of the University of California, San Diego, experimented on trying to find an association between dreams and creativity. The New York Times Opinionator has more on the experiment:
She gave subjects a variety of remote-associate puzzles, which require subjects to find a word that’s associated with three other seemingly unrelated words. Then, she instructed the subjects to take a nap. Interestingly, subjects who lapsed into R.E.M. during their nap solved 40 percent more puzzles than they did in the morning, before their brief sleep. Subjects who quietly rested without sleeping or took a nap without R.E.M. showed a slight decrease in performance.
Sara says that the dramatic improvement in creativity is because R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement) “primes associative networks”, enabling us to integrate new information into our problem solving approach.
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