Scientists have learned how to discover what you are dreaming about while you sleep.
A team of researchers led by Yukiyasu Kamitani of the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, used functional neuroimaging to scan the brains of three people as they slept, simultaneously recording their brain waves using electroencephalography (EEG).
The researchers woke the participants whenever they detected the pattern of brain waves associated with sleep onset, asked them what they had just dreamed about, and then asked them to go back to sleep.
This was done in three-hour blocks, and repeated between seven and ten times, on different days, for each participant. During each block, participants were woken up ten times per hour. Each volunteer reported having visual dreams six or seven times every hour, giving the researchers a total of around 200 dream reports.