I had weird dreams, where you changed your face [..] things that cannot be explained”, Sang Orelsan in his album“ The party is over – Epilogue. ”Science has for decades sought to explain dreams, why we dream and why our dreams are so strange. In a new study published in the journal Patterns on May 14, 2021, Erik Hoel, professor of neuroscience at Tufts University (Massachusetts, United States), pleads for a new theory, that of the over-adjusted brain.
The researcher here used theartificial intelligence (AI), a technology inspired by the functioning of the human brain of its neural networks, which reacts to new situations using data from previous situations. But this technology has its limits: after a while, AI begins to assume that all of the data it contains is a perfect representation of what is happening. Scientists manage to solve this problem by inducing chaos in the data, or by having certain data ignored, at random.
Professor Hoel cites the example of automatic cars. He advises imaging a black box that would appear on the internal screen of an autonomous car. His AI will then have to deal with this lack of data and focus on the whole screen rather than on the black box. What relationship with our strange dreams ? Well, they would sort of act like this black box: they would be there to thwart the data, to bring a bit of “disorder” and allow the brain not to “rest on what it has learned”.
The aim of strange dreams would thus be to make our understanding of the world less simplistic and more complete, because our brains, like deep neural networks and AIs, also become too familiar with the data provided by our daily grind. The brain, therefore, creates a strange version of our world in our dreams. “It is the very strangeness of dreams in their divergence from the experience of reality that gives them their biological function.”, Estimates the researcher. Proof of the veracity of this hypothesis for Prof. Hoel: a task carried out repetitively during a whole day often leads to an over-adjustment of the brain resulting in bizarre dreams around the same task.
Life is boring sometimes”, Added the researcher in a communicated. “Dreams are there to keep you from becoming too modeled on the world”, He concluded.