研究表明,大鼠梦想着他们的未来

A new study of sleeping rats may shed light on the role of dreams. Vitalii Tiagunov/Shutterstock

如果你有过dreamedabout what you'll eat when you wake up, you're not alone. Evenrats根据一项新的研究,似乎将来梦想未来食品的策略,潜在地阐明我们的大脑在睡觉时如何制定计划。

发表在exelife期刊学习在三种情况下跟踪了大鼠的大脑活动:首先,他们认为他们在一个独立的食物中休息时,最后因为他们被允许到达食物。静息大鼠在处理导航的专业脑细胞中显示出活动,表明他们正在模拟行走往返他们无法达到的食物。

研究人员说,这可以帮助我们更好地了解海马,这是一个脑域地区,这是形成,组织和存储记忆的关键。该研究中的大鼠显然使用海马,不仅仅记住他们看到的食物,而是为了映射潜在的旅程来达到它。

“在探索期间,哺乳动物迅速形成了海马环境的地图,”伦敦大学学院的神经科学家的神经科学家研究共同作者Hugo Spiers新闻稿。“在睡眠期间或休息期间,海马通过这张地图重播旅程,这可能有助于增强记忆。据推测,这种重播可能形成梦想的内容。”

It's still unclear if rats experience this brain activity as dreams, Spiers adds. But it at least indicates their hippocampus takes advantage of down time to strategize, which could have implications for humans. "Our new results show that during rest the hippocampus also constructs fragments of a future yet to happen," he says. "Because the rat and human hippocampus are similar, this may explain why patients with damage to their hippocampus struggle to imagine future events."

A dream come true?

以前的研究表明,老鼠(和人类)如何记住具有称为“的海马的神经元的特定位置”place cells。" These neurons fire when a rat is actually in a location but also when it's later asleep, possibly because it's dreaming about where it was earlier. The new study was designed to see if this brain activity can also indicate where the rat wants to go in the future.

为了测试,研究人员通过前方T-Chronction将每个大鼠放置在直线轨道上。交界处的一个分支是空的,一端有一个食物,但两者都被透明屏障阻挡。在大鼠有时间浸泡这种难题之后,它们被从轨道中取出并在“睡眠室”内部花了一个小时。研究人员后来取下了障碍,把老鼠送回了轨道,让他们穿过交界处才能到达食物。

饥饿的饥饿海马

老鼠一直以来戴电极out the experiment, the researchers could then see what their hippocampi were doing at various stages. During the rest period, the data showed activity in the rats' place cells — specifically those that would later provide a map to the food. Place cells representing the empty branch of the junction didn't show the same activity, suggesting the brain was plotting future routes toward a goal rather than just remembering scenery.

“真正有趣的是,海马通常被认为对内存很重要,那么将细胞存储有关您所访问的位置的详细信息,”Co-AuthorFreyjaólafsdóttir,也是UCL的神经科学家。“这里有什么令人惊讶的是,我们看到未来的海马计划,实际上排练了动物需要采取的新的旅程,以便到达食物。”

研究人员说,想象未来事件的能力可能对人类来说可能并不是独一无二的,尽管在我们真正了解这些模拟的目的之前需要更多的研究。“这一过程似乎是评估可用选项的方法,以确定哪个是最有可能结束的奖励,”思考它“如果你愿意,”如果你喜欢,“尤其是ucl生物学家Caswell Barry说。“但是,我们肯定的是,我们将来想做的事情是尝试在这项明显规划之间建立一个联系,并且动物接下来做什么。”

尽管人和老鼠之间存在明显的差异,但这项研究提醒我们,我们更类似于它似乎。我们不仅有一个海马,有助于我们记住我们所处的位置,也许计划我们下一步的地方,但我们也至少有一个共同的梦想:早餐。