Dreams help you game better

193 dream_standard_1280x960.jpgThe dreams of gamers are providing useful insight into the purpose of dreams.

Apparently gamers who dream about playing video games perform better than those who don’t. A study by Harvard Medical School doesn’t definitely prove the correlation, but the studies strongly suggest that dreaming and learning are intertwined.

“It really looks like if you’re not dreaming about it, you’re not getting better,” Robert Stickgold of Harvard Medical School told The New Scientist.

In the weird and slightly sadistic experiment, the researchers found 22 volunteers willing to spend 2 nights in a lab getting their dreams analysed and brain waves measured.
They picked the game Doom and chose people who had played it before: the first night the volunteers didn’t play Doom, the second night they did. On each night, the researchers woke up the volunteers during the Rapid Eye Movement phase of their sleep and asked them to recount their dreams. They judged the content of the dreams by the key words that the volunteers mentioned.
Nearly all of the volunteers dreamed about Doom on the second night, using words related to Doom when describing their dreams – words such as: “”blood”, “monster”, “chainsaw” and “shotgun”.
The morning after the second night, the researchers asked the volunteers to play Doom again.

Volunteers who had used more Doom-related words in their dream reports were judged to have dreamt more about the computer game – and those volunteers performed better in the game the next day. Up to a point however. Dreaming too much about Doom didn’t help either. Apparently being too obsessed doesn’t help either, as anyone who has an OCD dream about work will know.

So what’s the lesson? Dreaming about kittens may be nice but it isn’t going to help you very much in life. Mix it up with some nice practical skill-processing dreams about launching successful start-up businesses, or making really great risottos.

A bit but not too much.

[via the The New Scientist]

Anna Leach