Dreaming while awake is possible and other strange facts about dreams

Credit: Jon Han
Credit: Jon Han
[W]e’ve examined five strange findings about dreaming from the psychology literature:

3. People who no longer think can still dream

Auto-activation deficit is a condition, caused by damage to the basal ganglia, in which people not only report having no thoughts, but have lost all self-motivation. They have to be told by carers to do everything from brushing their teeth to eating. However, even though their mind is a blank while they’re awake, research published by a team in France, shows that some, at least, do still dream.

4. Certain drugs can allow you to “dream” while awake

The psychedelic drug DMT (one of the main psychoactive constituents of ayahuasca) produces brain rhythms that look at lot like those observed during dreaming. The team behind this finding reported that, compared with participants who’d received a placebo, the DMT group had much less alpha wave activity.

Related article:  How blinking alters the way our brains perceive the passage of time
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5. Some people’s daydreams take over their lives

For some people, their daydreams are so vivid and absorbing that “real life” fades into the background. As one sufferer of Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD) explains it: “I am careful to control my actions in public so it is not evident that my mind is constantly spinning these stories and I am constantly lost in them.”

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