NOVA: What are Dreams?

NOVA: What are Dreams?

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 9:00pm

Pictured: Prof. Robert Stickgold of Harvard Medical School, who researches how dreams can improve learning.

Credit: Sophie Wallace-Hadrill ©BBC

What are dreams and why do we have them?

NOVA joins the leading dream researchers as they embark on a variety of neurological and psychological experiments to investigate the world of sleep and dreams in What Are Dreams?, airing Tuesday, October 20 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable1011/cable11).

Delving deep into the thoughts and brains of a variety of dreamers, scientists are asking important questions about the purpose of this mysterious world we escape to at night. Do dreams allow us to get a good night’s sleep? Do they improve our memory? Do they allow us to be more creative? Can they solve our problems or even help us survive the hazards of everyday life? NOVA follows researchers like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Matthew Wilson who is literally ‘eavesdropping’ on the dreams of rats and takes viewers into a sleep lab for a first-hand look at how scientists do their best to eavesdrop on human dreams. From those who violently act out their dreams to those who can’t stop their nightmares, from sleepwalking cats to people who can’t dream.