People who tend to remember their dreams respond more strongly than others to hearing their own name being called when awake, LiveScience reports.
In a recent study, which aimed to discover more about why some people recall their dreams while others don't, scientists found that those who easily recall their dreams were more likely to pick up on the sound of their own name than others.
The study of 36 people – half of which recalled their dreams frequently and half who did not – involved an examination of the electrical activity in the participants' brains while they listened to background sound, which occasionally featured a voice quietly saying their first name. This test was conducted during wakefulness and again during sleep. When asleep, both groups displayed similar brain activity in response to hearing their names, which were played quietly so as not to wake them. However, when awake, high dream recallers showed a significant decrease in a brain wave called the alpha wave when they heard their names, whereas the low dream recallers did not.
A well-established theory suggests that when people are more alert and more of their brain regions become active the alpha wave is reduced. These new findings suggest that people who remember their dreams well are likely to be more alert when they are awake than those who struggle to recall their dreams. Commenting on the findings of the study, researcher Perrine Ruby, neuroscientist at Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre in France, said: "It was quite surprising to see a difference between the groups during wakefulness".
Whilst there is still a great deal that is unknown, this study has brought us one small step closer to understanding the state of dreaming.