Activation of Retinotopic Visual Areas is Central to REM Sleep Associated Dreams: Visual Dreams and Visual Imagery Possibly Co-emerged in Evolution

István Bókkon, Birendra Nath Mallick


The latest experimental results support that multiple retinotopic visual systems play a central role not only in the processing of visual signals but also in the integration and processing of internally represented auditory and tactile information. These retinotopic maps have access to higher levels of cognitive processing, performed by the frontal lobes, for example. The occipital cortex may have a special role in multisensory integration. There is a functional basis for the development and maturation of visual memory in association of rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) which is linked to dreams and visual imagery. Physiological and psychological processes of REMS are similar to waking visual imagery. Furthermore, visual imagery during REMS utilize a common visual neural pathway similar to that used in wakefulness.  This pathway subserves visual processes accompanied with auditory experiences and intrinsic feelings. We argue that the activation of the retinotopic visual areas is central to REM sleep associated dreams and that REMS associated dreaming and visual imagery may have co-evolved in homeothermic animals during evolution. We also suggest that protoconscious state during REM sleep, as introduced by Hobson many years ago, may be a basic visual process.

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Activitas Nervosa Superior • ISSN:1802-9698 • © Copyright 2009-Neuroscientia-All Rights Res.• Published by Neuroscientia and NC Publishing.