FROM teeth falling out to standing in front of a crowd naked, have you ever questioned what your dreams really mean?
Now a team of researchers say they have come up with a tool that can analyse dreams to reveal the truth behind their meaning.
Experts from the Nokia Bell Labs in Cambridge have created a technique using computers to look at dreams called Natural Language Processing.
It looks for nouns to identify people, animals, and fictional characters, as well as verbs to classify interactions – as either friendly or aggressive.
Scientists used their code to analyse 24,000 dream reports from Dreambank, the largest public repository of dreams.
Among those whose dreams were analysed included an artist, a blind person, a school girl, a war veteran and a cross-dressing businessman.
'Windows to waking lives'
The results were compared with assessments by psychiatrists and showed that dreams are a continuation of what happens in every day life.
The researchers said: “Our results suggest that it is possible to quantify important aspects of dreams, making it possible to build technologies that bridge the current gap between real life and dreaming.”
Dr Luca Aiello, one of the authors of a study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, told i: “We are not trying to replace the experts, but we are trying to automate part of this process to make it easier for them.
“At large scale, you might imagine that events like the Covid-19 pandemic are most likely affecting how people feel and affecting their dreams.
“If most people were to share those dreams we could monitor over the different weeks of the pandemic, how people feel about it. In principle, if enough people shared their dreams, this could be done in real time.”
The team hope the "Dreamcatcher" tool can be turned into an app so that people can use it to find the truth behind their middle of the night musings.
They also hope that by sharing their dreams, it will allow experts to understand the impact huge events such as pandemics or wars have on people's mental health.
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