Dreams and consciousness
The study of dreams and consciousness
Every night, when we fall asleep, we progressively disengage from the external environment and cease to experience it. Instead, our brain starts to generate an entire world of conscious experiences by itself, encompassing abstract thoughts, vivid images and story-like dreams. Consciousness during sleep may also fade, typically but not exclusively when we enter slow wave sleep early in the night. Which mechanisms underlie these changes in consciousness? We try to answer this question by studying how brain activity, measured with high-density EEG, relates to changes in consciousness during sleep, which we assess using serial awakening paradigms. We also investigate changes in mental activity that occur in sleep disorders, such as insomnia, sleepwalking or narcolepsy with the aim of better understanding these conditions.
Our laboratory is currently equipped with a complete high-density EEG system (Electrical Geodesics, Inc.) and with state-of-the-art complementary instruments and tools for the study of brain activity in both sleep and wake.
- High-Density EEG System (257 Channels)
- Integrated physiological measurement tools (EKG, EMG, etc.)
- NetStation 5 Software, for collection and analysis of EEG data
- Geodesic Photogrammetry System, for optimization of source reconstruction
- GeoSource Software, for EEG source reconstruction and visualization
- E-Prime 2 Software, for creation and presentation of behavioral tests
- Standard (e.g., EEGLAB) and custom-made Matlab toolboxes for analysis of EEG data
- Algorithms (available or currently in validation) for the automatic detection and analysis of sleep-related events including: slow waves, spindles, theta waves, eye movements and arousals.
Recent abstracts and publications
- Siclari F, Baird B, Perogamvros L, Bernardi G, LaRocque JJ, Riedner B, Boly M, Postle BR, Tononi G. The neural correlates of dreaming. Nat Neurosci, 2017; 20(6):872-878.
- Siclari F, Tononi G. Local aspects of sleep and wakefulness. Curr Opin Neurobiol 2017; 44:222-227.
- Bernardi G, Betta M, Cataldi J, Leo A., Ricciardi E, Haba-Rubio J, Pietrini P, Heinzer R, Siclari F. The effects of acute, short-term visual deprivation on low-frequency EEG activity druing wakefulness and sleep. 2017 World Sleep Congress Prague, Czech Republic.
- Betta M, Bernardi G, Ricciardi E, Pietrini P, Haba-Rubio J, Siclari F, Heinzer R. Quantifying peripheral sympathetic activation during sleep by means of an automatic method for pulse wave amplitude drop detection. 2017 World Sleep Congress Prague, Czech Republic.
- Betta M, Bernardi G, Menicucci D, Haba-Rubio J, Heinzer R, Gemignani A, Landi A, Tononi G, Siclari F, "Sponteneous, localized EEG activations in REM sleep: a high-density EEG investigation", 2016 OHBM Annual Meeting, June 2016, Geneva, Switzerland
- Bernardi G, Betta M, Yu X, Ricciardi E, Haba-Rubio J, Heinzer R, Pietrini P, Tononi G, Siclari F, "Regionally specific features of low-frequency EEG oscillations during REM-sleep", 2016 OHBM Annual Meeting, June 2016, Geneva, Switzerland