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Mystery Photo

What in the world is it?

Mystery Photo
Don’t peek at the answer until you’ve given this a good try! Then, scroll down a bit and the truth will be revealed to you.

A rat in a pin-ball machine? Well, not exactly. It is a rat, though. A sleeping rat. In fact, it’s a dreaming rat, and brain scans of the dreaming rat are shown behind it. It turns out that animals have complex dreams and are able to retain and recall long sequences of events while they are asleep.

"No one knew for certain that animals dreamed the way we do, which can involve replaying events or at least components of events that occurred while we were awake," says Matthew Wilson of MIT’s Center for Learning and Memory. "We know that they are in fact dreaming and their dreams are connected to actual experiences." While any pet owner knows that animals seem to dream, and studies show that animals’ brains follow the same series of sleeping states as ours do, this Wilson’s research is the first that shows what animals are dreaming about.

Wilson points out that "dreams are the ultimate off-line experience." His work demonstrates that animals are capable of re-evaluating their daily experiences when they are not in the midst of them – just like humans.


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