A new theory on the origin of dreaming (REM sleep) has been published in the latest issue of the Harvard based journal Dreaming. The articles title is “The origin of REM sleep: A hypothesis”. It could be of interest to
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For your reference I attach the abstract below.
This article presents a new theory about the origin of REM sleep. REM is an integral part of the human sleep cycle and the neurological substrate most consistently associated with dreams and dream recall. According to this thesis, REM sleep evolved out of a primordial defensive reflex: tonic immobility. This reflex, sometimes also called death-feigning or animal hypnosis, is usually the last line of defense against an attacking predator. Tonic immobility, common in both vertebrates and invertebrates, has a number of neuroanatomical and behavioral attributes that overlap
with those of REM sleep. This overlap is suggestive of an evolutionary kinship.
The article presents conceptual arguments and empirical facts in support of this relationship.
(PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)
The origin of REM sleep: A hypothesis.
Dreaming, Vol 22(4), Dec 2012, 253-283. doi: 10.1037/a0030790