Availabily of information in the brain in dream state

I’m in a state of mild anxiety; it’s really important that I get at the appropriate place in time. The familiar sight of the metal wired gate gives me a sense of relief. I arrive at the entrance hall of a big building. I have to pay attention, because it will only be a matter of time before someone will tell were the class is that I have to go to. My anxiety starts getting the best of me when I realise that the class has already begun, right here inside the entrance hall of the building. I’m trying to take notes to the best of my ability, but I can’t find my papers, in fact I seem to have lost my bag altogether. Maybe I should leave, but …how did I even get here…where is my car?

This realism of this dream (I had yesterday, that was probably in part the result of writing Connecting locations, anyone with ideas?) is only possible as long as I’m denied acces to multiple pieces of information, like:

  • the history of my education;
  • my current job;
  • my age;

If dreaming has an evolutionary advantage (which I believe it has), than it goes without saying that whatever makes it possible to dream, like this restriction of information, is also evolutionary advantageous (and thus likely to be selected in the process of natural selection).

On the other side of the coin we (I certainly do) sometimes get acces to information in the dream state that appears to have been denied to us in our non dreaming state.

On both sides of the coin there appears to be a (perhaps evolutionary contrived) denial of acces to information inside our own brain. This leads to some very interesting questions:

  • is there a way to hack whatever system is in control of this?
  • how much denial could there be?
  • is having a fotographic memory our default state and for most of us hidden by this control system?

Anyway, I would very much appreciate any input on this matter.

What is this advantage supposed to be?

Let me give you a couple of possible educated guesses:

  • creating scenario’s to find out what are good and bad ways to behave in various situations;
  • making information more available by means of the story method (just like in memory systems);
  • allowing the subconcious part of the brain to communicate with the consious part of the brain; I feel this may be the underlying factor of dreams in which you desperately try to accomplish something and in the end of the dream you feel free to let go of that goal. When you are to obsessed with something (for example with making a memory system work) a “let go” themed dream (about something else like passing an exam) may automatically be played in order to diminish the obsession.

However, I am open to the possibility that dreams are merely “collateral damage” of information organising and thus not a goal in and of itself.

Great, because that’s what most the current research suggests.

I think that in nature any type of “collateral damage” (something that is not directly aimed for) that has an effect on the reproductive succes of the biological entity will undoubtedly be the subject of natural selection. So my best guess is, that even if dreams are at first the result of let say information organising in the brain, once these dreams alter the behaviour of any given animal (including humans) they will become an adaptation in and of itself.

I amigine, that it would be a very hard nut to crack for researchers to prove that dreams have no effect on the behaviour of animals and thus have no effect on it’s reproductive succes.

Onus probandi

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I guess in this case that goes both ways. Claiming that something is merely a “collateral damage” effect is in fact very much like saying, it is not an adaptation.

As far as I can tell in the field of evolutionary biology there has been plenty of verbal fighting over what constitutes an adaptation. Most notably perhaps is the “fight” between to popular science writers Stephan J Gould (random walk theory; change but not adaptation) and Richard Dawkins.

Can we maybe go with simply: byproduct or side effect; because this is really not what “collateral damage” means.

Well, everything is an adaptation… the question is its fitness with regards to the environment (see also: genetic algorithms). There are adaptations that don’t serve a purpose anymore or never have, but that doesn’t mean that evolution has any reason to get rid of them.

Maybe have a look here for a discussion about the need for sleep and the reasons for deep sleep, REM sleep (what you’re talking about) and also the biochemical component of cleaning out amyloid beta, etc. They also discuss other random things like how dolphins only sleep with one half of their brain at a time:

Well, it’s the H₀ to your H₁

Can we maybe go with simply: byproduct or side effect ; because this is really not what “collateral damage” means.

I remember Richard Dawkins using this phrase in an effort to explain altruistic behaviour in modern society, that appears not have an obvious positive effect on the reproductive succes of the person doing this behaviour. For example giving money to people in need on the other side of the planet. He used the term in a figurative/funny way, indicating that whatever causes this noble (but evolutionary futile) behaviour would very likely have resulted in behaviour that in the past would indeed lead to an evolutionary advantage (getting the benefits of being seen as a nice person).

Well, everything is an adaptation

Well that depends, in my estimation, on your definition. Like I mentioned in my earlier post, Stephan J Gould was a proponent of the random walk/ genetic drift theory in which some traits simply appear for no other reason, than let say statistical ones. To be clear, he wasn’t aiming to fully explain complex systems like the human eye this way, but simply stating that there are possible ways animals can change that are not making the animals more fit, but also not less fit; the analogy I believe he made (or some other scientist) was that of the mouth to ear communicating of stories; the story branches of in multiple variations simply as a result of imperfect transfer of information. There is of course in this analogy also natural selection at play; some story variations improve the “fitness” of the story; like “I was attacked by a kameleon” may eventually become “I was a attacked by a fire spitting dragon” and sometimes it is just trading 1 element for an equally good different one like “I was eating strawberries and than…” may become "I was eating tomatoes and than…

Shortly reply to something Dr. Matthew Walker explains in the beginning of the clip:

  • rats are put in a maze and when they run in it their brain encodes it in some sort of music, or let say squence of sounds (a bit similar to how some of us memorisers navigate in a memory palace: pam, pam,…pam, pam, pam,…pam -> the … indicating a bigger distance between the loci);
  • in their sleep that same pattern is repeated but ten times faster.

One conclusion of this (which is beautifully used in the movie “Inception”) is that in our sleep we are capable a super fast thinking. So this leads me to think about the possibilities of using this innate ability while being awake (I made a post about this susbject or said something of this nature in a replie, which I can’t find anymore) .

Both of these scientists have been on the Joe Rogan podcast and because I am a fan of this show I have seen them in action so to speak.

The other one is Dr. Rhonda Patrick. Ok before I go on about Rhonda let me put out a disclaimer: the following is just an impression I got from watching here on the show, I don’t have any expertise to judge here statement in a rigourous way.

She seems to switch here identity at the blink of an eye from sceptical scientist to a used car sales person using textbook marketing tricks like “I’m driving the exact same car mister, best car in the world”. A couple of examples of statements ( forgive me if I don’t have the exact statements right) :

  • she makes all kinds of claims about the benefits of fasting and than minutes after she smuggles in the conversation the fact that all science is done on mice and not on people;
  • she claims that taking a sauna greatly increases your endurance and in an effort to make these claims more powerful she starts telling personal anecdotes about here own performance increase after taking a sauna (sounding like the used car sales person).
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You should really listen to the whole things first… he later on explains that this happens whilst your prefrontal cortex (i.e., executive function) is off. So that’s a “no” to what you call an “innate ability.”

You are certainly entitled to your own opinion as far as Rhonda Patrick; however, you shouldn’t dismiss what she is saying only because you don’t like how she says it. The nice thing about her videos are the callout boxes where she actually puts explanations of terms and references to research on the subject… as opposed to the Joe Rogan podcasts you are referring to.

If you’re referring to Joe Rogan episodes now… she usually tells him that he shouldn’t jump to conclusions as research done on rodents doesn’t automatically mean that it applies to humans. Yoshinori Ohsumi actually received a Nobel Prize for his research on fasting and autophagy.

I presume that’s another Joe Rogan podcast episode… in her own videos she cites the research done in Finland.

Sorry, I don’t understand what you are saying… is it evolutionary futile or an evolutionary advantage? Also, what is the evolutionary advantage of getting the benefits of being seen as a nice person?"

Sleep… dreams…

Wait wait.

Isn’t that kind of like amazing? How in the world does a pattern get repeated at 10x it’s maximum rate without an error. It changes like everything. It means that most of your gains of doing the same thing everyday at the controlled speed come from sleeping no?

Therefore there must be an optimal balance of sleeping. Why in the world is this viewed as collateral damage.

I mean futile as in “resistence is futile” the famous phrase the Borg in Star trek use (futile = pointless). To make my point even clearer: the mechanism that leads you to do nice things (altruistic behaviour) may in the modern world not always lead to reproductive succes. Helping your neighbour may be benificial in that regard as it is likely that in your time of need, he will return the favour. But sending money to people on the other side of the planet (regardless of how much good you are doing) will not have that same result.

As for the benefits of being seen as a nice person. I imagine that your are more likely to get help in a time of need when people think of you as a nice person.

That sounds a bit like an accusation, that I don’t really appreciate. I don’t think I have an obligation to listen to or read everything that has been suggested on this forum before I am entitled to make a reply. In this case watching the whole thing certainly would have been useful, I fully agree.

You are certainly entitled to your own opinion as far as Rhonda Patrick; however, you shouldn’t dismiss what she is saying only because you don’t like how she says it.

It is not so much about not liking, but about judging the credibility of her message partly based on her way of marketing/communicating it.

If you’re referring to Joe Rogan episodes now… she usually tells him that he shouldn’t jump to conclusions as research done on rodents doesn’t automatically mean that it applies to humans.

Well, like I said in my post, she seems to switch from scientist to car sales person on the blink of an eye. So, yes the part you are showing has the scientist vipe so to speak, but in other parts the car sales persons takes over.

it’s not about “without an error”… the general theory at the moment is that your brain is trying to do some synthesis of the new experiences of the day. So basically, during awake state new information gets buffered and then sorted into memory during sleep.

The reason your prefrontal cortex has no say in this synthesis activity is so that you don’t try and reach “logical” conclusions. It’s a bit like brainstorming where in the beginning everything is fair game.

Not sure that changes everything. When you do weight resistance training, the muscle is built during the rest phases between training sessions, not as you lift the weight. As far as “doing the same thing” it’ll probably only apply to things like juggling, playing an instrument, etc.

Have a look at the video… they describe scenarios as far as studying right before and right after going to bed.

Don’t want to go over the entire video, but basically there are about 90 minute long sleep cycles in which you’ll dream different amount of time. As far as dreaming or better your realizing that you are dreaming isn’t really necessary for this process. So the fact that you can recall a dream and ponder its meaning might just be a byproduct of what your brain is doing at night when it gets ready for the next day.

I looked at a bit of the clip.

Partial inclusion with priority closer to sleep but not entirely so? There still would be an optimal balance under the complex circuitry no?

Are you implying that there is no direct control over this and therefore it is fair game? There are some behaviours prior to sleep that translate to better memory such as learning closer to sleep. Wouldn’t it be possible to ‘pre-sleep’ somewhat do more fine directing of this fair play.

Yes but during the lifting phase(post small rest) you can still have neural adaptations that translate to temporary increases in strength.

I notice for example if I train particularly in such a way that I can still recover the next day and I did near my max the day before( before the next day ), while there is no increase in strength during the day (Vs fatigue) , the next day features around a 2kg + on my max. If I don’t train on that day my max would go back closer to what it was before I trained.

With sleep being a factor this somewhat is explainable. Otherwise it seems like there isn’t any precise explanation. (E.g if it was more time/recovery based, staying up the entire night should translate to the same thing,which it does not) , (if it was more related to sleep performing the exercise closer to sleep should show some difference, which it does.)

On the other hand I also notice that I can still feature temporary in-day increases in strength(also speed) without sleep , provided the right recoveries are present and I don’t over fatigue myself.

For example though, when you are doing something you can do very easily, say using mnemonics at a comfortable pace. If you are not increasing your rate during the day, but still happen to get faster over several days. Would this not have a high likelihood of being due to sleep?

If sleep does something like repeat even a part of this comfortable training at a 10-20x rate during sleep, would this then not justify maintaining a steady pace in hopes of increasing your speed for general activities.

The reason I am saying this is for example because during a single day without increasing my own rate I would not experience a particular gain in speed. On the other hand I can work under harder conditions and increase my speed during the day albeit with many errors, which I can also fix during the day. Yet if sleep is capable of somewhere meeting the optimal point with intelligent planning it would suddenly become more sensible to maintain a controlled pace and let sleep do the magic of increasing the speed. (Harder conditions do not imply 20x, the feasibility of making your self 20x faster even with as many errors as you want is difficult).

Of course this is if there is functionality to sleep when the prefrontal cortex isn’t exactly on. There should be some functionality if sleep has benefits which it does though?

A bit off the topic of dreaming…

Also under that context byproduct does make sense.

Separately, I see the influence of memory, both in the video and in what you are saying as oppose to other functionality. This distinction is a bit difficult because it might just be that your brain remembers how to output more force in weightlifting or how to execute greater control or even how to execute things more quickly. It’s hard to find something that can’t be explained as being just memory alternatively (in this context). Of course , physically growing muscle might not quite follow this same flow.

The method that you are using sounds very much like “greasing the groove” as popularised by strength guru Pavel Tsatsounine: doing an exercise with sub maximal weights, very frequently. A somewhat related explanation of your 2 kg increase is a process known short term overcompensation; you do an exercise without going to failure and shortly after (as little as 30 minutes) you not only restore the muscle contraction enabeling substances like ATP, but you get a little bit more of it.

The 2 kg version is one time to failure (3-18 reps tested) and occurs only the next day.

The other variants -in-day increases, occur pre-failure in repetitions between 5-7 minutes with increased timings (for me at least). If I keep them up for the entire day with increased spacing they remain for the next day. I have used this frequently when I wanted an edge in some form of school activity since I would clearly have an unnatural boost over a period of a day. The precision makes it hard and it takes up your entire day.