Deciphering the dream of the dog

A Fido (a breed of dog) is sleeping and twitching its legs, so is it really dreaming about chasing rabbits?

Researchers think this is possible. Rabbit is only a part. Many scientific proofs confirm that at times such dogs are not only dreaming about rabbits but they are capable of dreaming about everyday activities like humans.  


Stanley Coren, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and author of the book "Do Dogs Dream? Nearly Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know” affirmed: Dogs also have dreams! 


Speaking to Live Science Magazine, Prof. Coren shared that dogs could sleep more than people and they preferred to sleep in long time. However, their sleep mechanism was comparable to that of humans. The sleep cycle of the dog also went through stages such as Wakefulness, REM (Rapid-eye-movement), and NREM (Non Rapid-eye-movement). In Physiological Behavior Journal in 1977, scientists also provided reports of the echidna echoes of the six hunting dogs for 24 hours and found that 44% of the first time they remained awake, 21% of the time falling asleep, and 12% were in REM sleep. The deepest sleep period in the NREM period is 23%, which is called slow-wave sleep. 

Dogs also experience REM and NREM as humans.

Humans dream in both REM and NREM but the dream most of us remember after waking up is REM. During this period, dreams are meaningful and often a bit "monstrous". In addition, we are more likely to wake up after REM than after NREM. This is cited by Matthew Wilson, a cognitive scientist specializing in expression and memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He further emphasized, "With that comparison, dreams appearing in the NREM period are usually not interesting." 


Mouse’s dream 

In 2001, Wilson and colleagues discovered that mice also had dreams; or at least, their brains did the same thing as the human brain while dreaming and produced the same result. Firstly, researchers have documented the activity of some neuronal neurons in the rat’s brain when they were in a narcolepsy state and repeatedly reworked several things. Then they also did this when the mice were in REM sleep. 


During 44% of the time in REM sleep, researchers found that brainwave patterns matched what the mice did when they were in a state of narcolepsy. These models lasted for a few minutes at a time and resembled what was recorded when the mouse sober. In other words, animals seemed to have "revived" activities that were performed when awake during REM sleep and this was also reported in the Neuron Science Journal in 2001. 


Studying the rat's dream is the premise to decipher the dog's dream 

Then a year later, Wilson's team continued to provide evidence of the "visualization" of the daily lives of mice in NREM sleep. But in this stage, the brainwave model was shorter and faster instead of "imitating" just as the pattern was recorded when the mouse was sober. Also, they only appeared in naps after the mouse performed an activity. 


However, there is evidence that the pulses that appear in NREM are very euphoric for mice and that this is similar to humans. Professor Wilson and his colleagues have discovered that when neurons are produced in the Hippocampus brain region, visual cortex cells are also formed. 

By: Stephan Swift

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