SINCE the discovery of particular physiological changes associated with dreaming1, it has often been suggested that dreaming or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is a form of information processing. Some of these proposals have used computer analogies2, others have been deduced from the kinds of perceptual events that occur in dreams3, and some are derived from the nature of the mental changes which follow dream deprivation4. Some of the models suggest that REM sleep serves to discard extraneous information. Another possibility is that any long term functional reorganization in the brain must be done with the help of REM sleep; that is to say, REM sleep is necessary for adding new information to existing stores or structures—in other words, a kind of programming of the brain occurs during REM sleep.
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GREENBERG, R., DEWAN, E. Aphasia and Rapid Eye Movement Sleep. Nature 223, 183–184 (1969). https://doi.org/10.1038/223183a0
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