What role can they play in predicting the future, and why? To what extent have they shaped the past? What can we glean when we know the content of our dreams, and what does science have to say about why that is? And should we all be taking naps?
In this Book Dreams episode on–you guessed it–a book on dreams, Brazilian neuroscientist and dream researcher Sidarta Ribeiro offers answers to these questions and more. Author of The Oracle of Night: The History and Science of Dreams, Sidarta discusses with Julie and Eve the profound impact dreams have had on the history and evolution of humanity. He says, “Dreams are an integral part of our past. And if we are to have a future, they must be rescued.” Sidarta also talks about why a connection to dreaming has been lost for many people today and what can be done to restore it.
Sidarta Ribeiro is the Founder and Vice Director of the Brain Institute at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil where he currently serves as the Professor of Neuroscience. He received a PhD in animal behavior from Rockefeller University. His research topics encompass: memory, sleep and dreams, neuroplasticity, symbolic competence in non-human animals, computational psychiatry, and psychedelics.
The Oracle of Night: The History and Science of Dreams
“The Oracle of Night makes a resounding case for the mystery, beauty and cognitive importance of dreams . . . This book is the culmination of decades of thought and collaborative work. It’s also the expression of remarkable, if sometimes all-over-the-map, scholarship, drawing on history, literature, biology, anthropology, neuroscience, sociology and psychology, among other disciplines . . . You can’t help being awed and enchanted by the wonder with which Ribeiro approaches his subject, by the depth of his knowledge and passion.” —The New York Times
“[Ribeiro] explores hypotheses about the evolutionary value of sleep to humans, presenting a fascinating analysis of the debate about the relationship between sleep and cognitive ability . . . concluding, among other things, that nap rooms would be a valuable addition to school environments.” —Publishers Weekly