Almost 2,500 of you (83% of those who participated in yesterday’s neuron en vogue Instagram poll) have said that you have never seen your smartphone in your dreams.
And that seems a bit unusual. We spend khm.. more time than we are willing to admit staring at that screen, and somehow, we have never engaged with one when we dream? What’s the deal with it?
One thing is for sure — scientists don’t 100% know why this is happening — tbh, we don’t even know the exact purpose of dreaming.
Yet, there are a few *possible* neuroscientific explanations for the absence of our phones in our dreams.
One explanation introduces us to the “threat simulation hypothesis” of dreaming. It suggests that dreams are evolved defense mechanisms, a “place” we go to deal with our fears and anxieties so we’re able to practice for the real stuff — stressful events in life.
With dreams being a threat simulation, we tend to dream more often about our concerns, uncertainties, fears, and even traumas.
A direct link between our ancestors and us, let’s say modern humans, is that overall, (and more than not), we dream about some kind of survival — emotional or physical. There’s not much reading, writing, or tech stuff in our dreams, isn’t it?
But neuroscience-based knowledge and data can offer you a more eye-opening reason why you’re not on your smartphone even for a bit in your dreams.
So, when we sleep, our brain does something we call memory consolidation. It means that our brain stores memories — but not everything we experience — no.
Our brain picks and chooses only those memories that are emotionally intense. If you feel strong (good or bad) emotions during a certain event — your brain will mark it as an important thing that becomes a memory.
Whatever dreams turn out to be, a fun and random activity our brain does, a mechanism to explore new ideas or a coping mechanism—it is without any doubt related to our memories and emotions.
However, some circumstances might trigger the appearance of smartphones in our dreams. You might have had a call or received a text that left you with a strong emotional reaction.
We are more likely to see smartphones in our dreams when we’re going through some intense life events, like mourning, losing a loved one, a breakup, or being left without a job.
For the ‘non-existing phones in dreams’ crew — here’s a question. Would you consider the time you spend on your phone as an emotional experience? Or is it a deadpan routine or a disconnecting activity for doom-scrolling?
If you do turn off your mind almost every time you pick up your phone, your brain doesn’t have a reason to revisit that memory. Its consolidation process won’t turn on. Which, in the end, could be the reason you mostly have phone-less dreams. Even though this is just a neuroscience-backed hypothesis, at least for now, we may be on the verge of something telling.