What do we hear when we dream?

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/04/07/what-do-we-hear-when-we-dream.html

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Huh, well that’s me, except for the occasional song or loud sound that wakes me up but didn’t actually happen.

I wonder how much of the reports of sounds come from post hoc rationalizations that the reporters don’t realize happens with dreams?

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I usually am in a 70’s Shore [New Jersey] attire of blue jeans and a white t-shirt with my Nam era flak-jacket, and for some strange reason unbeknownst to me Howlin Wolf is screaming the blues in the background.

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The part I find fascinating is how our brains are able to process which sounds should bring us to full consciousness even when we’re dreaming. For example, if you live in an urban environment you’ve probably become accustomed to sleeping through noises like traffic or a passing train, but if you’re a parent then your young child’s cry will probably wake you up even if they aren’t as loud as some of the background noises your brain filters out.

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I envy you…

I can literally hear the Ratel kit a block away when he’s shrieking over the cereal being in the wrong coloured bowl or whatever: inside the house with all the doors and windows closed.

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Unrelated, but for some reason seeing PLOS ONE really kinda pisses me off. Not sure why. Maybe because at a glance I subconsciously think “it’s PLUS ONE dammit get it right”

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I think its more likely Jonathan Nolan got the idea from the Christopher Priest book A Dream Of Wessex. Nolan must be familiar with it, having previously adapted The Prestige.

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This is why I use two alarms, primary and a backup. I’ve had dreams where I’ve incorporated the sound of my alarm into it as a way to avoid waking up. I never see myself in my dreams, because my eyes are like the camera recording the action. So, scenes and characters will form around the noise. One time, it went on so long (characters were yelling over the noise, etc.) when I woke up my ear hurt from pressing it so hard into my pillow. :sleeping:

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I take two 500 mil magnesiums before bed, that’ll wake you from the dead when they hit home base.

I’m old, so turbo charge is the way to go…

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I used to have a recurring dream of finding the lost Zambruskie Point soundtrack and listening to the craziest deep space era Floyd. The music was so amazing. Then Napster happened.

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I hear and see a lot in my dreams. What I don’t do is smell or taste.

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i am struck by the study’s title! i know i’m old(er) but it’s just cool to see the systematic counting/measuring of phenomena or behaviour that is more of a qualitative nature.

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Thanks for interesting article. Sometimes i hear a music in my dreams. It’s calm and quiet, but i hear it

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Usually I hear my tinnitus, building into a deafening roar like an explosion or train going by. Then wake up.

Sometimes when I’m very tired and falling asleep I hear one but sometimes multiple indistinct voices mumbling.

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I could never hear the ringing of alarm clock growing up, although I would spring out of bed when Dad opened the door or else he would kick the bed and yell “Wake UP!”

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It would be good if they could pick up brain scan activity in the auditory centres of sleepers - the audio equivalent of REM if there is such a thing. I sometimes wake and have the memory of having heard some really great music, and perhaps bring back a few phrases from it. But do I dream really great music, or dream having listened to really great music? I suspect I am not a really great music composer, so it has to be the second one, I guess.

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When I was in high school I had fallen asleep on the couch mid day. I forget the content of the dream I was having but I woke as a woman was speaking to me in the dream. At the start of her last sentence it was a female voice. As I woke and the sentence she was speaking progressed everything behind her faded to black and her voice slowly changed until it was my voice and I was aware of choosing the words being spoken.

It was a very strange feeling to catch myself orchestrating the dream. During this period of time it was common for me to experiences sleep paralysis and occasionally slept walk. The mystery of the adolescent brain.

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Sometimes the weirdest dreams are those that are generated by the external sound. My alarm is BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (speech news programme for those who aren’t familiar). Sometimes I sleep through it for a while and have weird dreams based on whatever it’s broadcasting; sometimes I wake and then fall back to sleep a little later and the same happens.

Did the study differentiate between what was ‘heard’ internally and what sounds were external? No - the study was not conducted with people in soundproof chambers but with people reporting what happened in their own homes. Study is tl;dr but I suspect a methodological flaw. (In fact, more than one! See below.)

we combined a naturalistic approach, where participants slept at home in their own bed and reported dreams upon spontaneous awakenings from sleep, with specific instructions to attend to and report the dream quality of interest (auditory impressions).

Participants

We used social network sampling and an advertisement on a psychology group on Facebook to recruit participants who self-reported to have good dream recall in everyday life, but with no psychiatric or severe somatic disorders, and who did not use medications that influence sleep. Eighteen participants responded and consented to participate. We excluded five participants who did not complete the study period or did not follow the dream reporting instructions. The remaining participant group included 12 females and 1 male, mean age 28.2 years (SD = 9.0).

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I also see and hear a lot, and the smelling is uncommon. A couple years ago I had a vivid dream of attending a play where the audience moves to each new scene and the players act it out, and each scene had its own distinct scent. One was an Indian spice market, one a field of lavender or something. It was pretty cool!

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