[The Infinite Monkey Cage] Science of Dreaming

Science of Dreaming

30/09/2019 by BBC Radio 4

Web player: https://podplayer.net/?id=82625567
Episode: http://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/6/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/http/vpid/p07pcdkr.mp3

Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Bridget Christie, neuroscientist Professor Penny Lewis and psychologist Richard Wiseman to explore the science of dreaming. Our dreams have fascinated humans for millennia and then Freud came along and told us they really did mean something, and mostly they were about sex and anger. Was he right? Why do we dream and can we find meaning in the content of our dreams? Can our dreams help us solve problems, give us new ideas, help us write a symphony, even if they can’t predict the future? The panel also discuss what is going on in the brain whilst we sleep, and how memories are formed and consolidated while we snooze. It turns out the phrase “better to sleep on it” has a strong scientific argument.

Producer: Alexandra Feachem

Listen Date: early January 2020


  • I learned that dreaming happens in all four cycles of sleep, not just REM
  • REM paralyses your limbs, so the only way you can communicate if you are lucid dreaming is either by moving your eyes, or through an erection. Er…
  • So lucid dreaming experiments require dreamers to move their eyes in a particular way to signal that they are in control of the dream. Imagine if this could be dialed up all the way to moving your eyes in Morse code. Looking left for a dot and looking right for a dash.
  • So many reminders of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.

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