Sleep and dream in a scientific view

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Offline Wolfhart Willimczik

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Sleep and dream in a scientific view
« on: 23/04/2013 05:18:54 »
Sleep and dream in a scientific view

by Physicist Wolfhart Willimczik

In the lexicon, one finds: "The dream is a kind of
unconscious mental activity. Their biological function has not yet been fully

I could find also: During sleep, the information of the day is "processed".

How exactly does that happen? This is a first attempt to explain it.

We will understand how our brain is working if we succeed to
build a computer with the same features - which is able to do the same
processes as our brain - at least in some respect.

Such comparison is scientifically allowable, because both
have to follow the laws of nature, ergo run in the same problems.

Such a computer must have all the sensors as a human, at
least eyes and ears. We could put a video camera on a human running the entire
day. The problem comes if all the available memory sticks are full. If we not
interfere we would find that this computer needs to disconnect from all sensors
after about a day to get into a quite or "sleeping" mode to process all the
information from last day to avoid a shut down due to a full memory. (The
"sleep mode" on today's computer is not the same.)

Our brain has the same problem to process all information
from the last day to make room for a new flow of information the next day. Our
today's computer ask us what can be erased and what shell be where and how
permanently saved. Our brain must do this task without asking us. Ergo - our
futuristic computer must do the same
without any help from the outside, processing and saving large video files,
sound files, information coming in by an entire array of sensors similar to a
human and files made by programs inside the computer itself to the right
places. Evidently our brain has to divide itself in at least one working part
(RAM - Random Access
Memory) and in a storage part (ROM - Read Only Memory), actually in several parts. We know
already a ultra short memory in the range of 1 minute, a short time memory of
about 1 day and a permanent memory.

The brain - like computer must know (our character,
experience etc) what is worse to save and what can be erased. If the computer
shell work alone a live time (over 80 years) with a limited capacity of its
memory etc it can't save all the incoming information, but must decide what to
erase and what to save permanently. If there is already a big memory from many
years like a 30 years old human it will be a complicated process what needs
time and the entire processing capacity. In this time the computer cuts all
connections to its sensors except a few necessary for survival. We call it
sleep. It may take the entire night. In the morning the computer will just be
ready to take more information from all the sensors etc.

Our brain has already all these features and is able to deal
with an immense amount of information.

How can a futuristic computer do this?

First there is a short-term memory that stores everything
like a video recorder, but just a short time, because it is easily filled up.
The eyes provide a video - sound, touch, own thoughts etc will be added. Some
of it goes into a storage that contains everything since the last sleep. The
rest of the short-term memory is erased approximately every minute.

The unimportant information must be identified and deleted.
For this purpose every piece of information get an extra parameter - "a
level of importance". Today's computers can not do it, but our brain makes
it always automatically. Depending on our character, experience etc we know
what we are interested in the pictures, the noise, odor and other impressions.
According to our impression the information is erased or is more or less deep
in our memory saved. All what made us astonished or frightened will be
permanently stored - "wow-effect".


From a big crowd remains just the image of the beautiful
girl. Everything else will be deleted immediately. From the entire video we saw
only one person.

All the selected information is now in the daily memory,

which is already significant less, but must be emptied during sleep, to be
receptive again the next day. In sleep, the connections to the sensors are
disconnected or almost all shut down, that the entire brain processing capacity
can now be used to process all new information - empty the RAM.

It knows what we're interested in, which is saved in our -
lets say - "character". But this is
still not enough. It must find the right spot in the permanent storage, that it
can easily accessed again, if the owner of this brain has the desire to
remember this. The bigger the storage the more difficult is this process to
save and to read again this specific information. (it is known that humans with
smaller storage can faster remember things.)

The saving process itself:

The computer/brain must compare the new information (what
was happening today) with everything that already exists in the permanent

storage to find the right spot for saving the new information.

Therefore, it searches in the sleeping mode the entire memory for similarities. This is
normally beyond our consciousness (except if we dream.) Junks of saved
information must have something like a name, number or similar finding tool. If
there are found similarities to several already existing information a more
specific process is started. We would on a split screen run the new video and
simultaneously different ones from the permanent memory until we find one
fitting to the new one and save it there permanently. Our brain made it
probably basically in the same way, but a bit more intelligent. It had millions
of years to optimize this process. (I had 71 years only.)


The brain would have erased the visit of the

mother-in-law almost immediately, but she was that annoying and made the couple
angry, this event received such a very negative review (strong impression) that
the brain saved it permanently. The brain searched under
"mother-in-law", "annoying visitors" etc for similar events. In fact, she had done the same already 7
times before and the search engine of the brain finds easily a big chunk
"visits by mother-in-law". It compares the old "videos" with the new
one and notes that there are similar events and put it there to the old ones
during we sleep.

Our strong (negative) rating is maintained in the permanent

memory. This information may follow us the entire live, even if we want to
forget it. It can't be erased from the permanent memory. It could perhaps only
overwritten with the same event only with a better ending to sooth the memory.

Forgetting something is much harder than learning something
if it is already in the permanent memory. On the other hand we should get a
good sleep after we learned something, with it the brain saved it in the
permanent memory. (Very strong events like an accident etc go perhaps strait in
the permanent memory.)

The reading from our permanent memory is easier the higher
the rating from this specific information is. We are attempt to make a scale
from - 10 to + 10, but the actual rating can be in some seldom cases like an
accident much higher - that high, that it comes always uninvited back in our
consciousness (working memory or RAM) and messed up our day.


This rather complicated process of selecting, erasing and

saving parts of our daily memory happens every night, regardless of whether we
have been dreaming or not. Because this is a long complicated process it will
need several hours - with a computer too.

If we - by some reason - disturb this process by switching
our just hard working memory (RAM) into conscious mode, we find remnants of the
day's events, but also things from the old days that either fit to each other
or not. We combine the 2 running "videos" just being in RAM to one. If we wake
up we remember this. This is our dream (a little simplified). We find in
a normal dream things from yesterday and things from older days.

But there are also different dreams:

Besides a video track, audio track etc, there are tracks
left by our own thoughts, which need to be processed as well. If you just burst
into this process with your consciousness, you will have either a nice dream,
because there was just the track with our desires, or we have a nightmare what
shows us what we fear the most.

So how can we define a dream?

We interrupt the normal information processing during sleep by turning on the

conscious mode. Now we "see" - in other words we dream - the fragments of the

two tracks running just this moment in our working memory (RAM).

Anyone can test this by himself by analyzing its own

"simple" dreams. The question is: are there things simultaneously in
a dream from yesterday and things from the past.

Now dream something nice. I am excited about the feedback.


Offline grizelda

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Re: Sleep and dream in a scientific view
« Reply #1 on: 24/04/2013 04:45:55 »
Whatever the process of storing memories (and they may take place during sleep), dreaming is a process of wish fulfillment (that wish usually being to stay asleep). So dreams skate away any attempts to interrupt the sleep by techniques shown in Freud's Interpretation of Dreams.


Offline Wolfhart Willimczik

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Re: Sleep and dream in a scientific view
« Reply #2 on: 24/04/2013 13:26:49 »
In many things he was right, but in regard of the comparison of our brain with a computer we should give Freud the benefit of a doubt, because there where no computers around in his time.