By Fiona MacDonald
No matter how real your daydreams might seem, to your brain they’re distinctly different to reality, new research has shown.
In fact, the electrical signals that send messages through your brain travel in the opposite direction when you’re imagining a scene rather than watching it, the study by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers in the US suggests.
To map this activity, the research team measured the flow of this neural information by hooking participants up to electroencephalography (EEG) machines – non-invasive sensors on the scalp that monitor the electrical activity of the brain below. They then asked one group to watch a short video clip before replaying it in their heads using their imaginations.
A second group was asked to first imagine travelling on a magic bicycle and focus in on all the textural details before they were shown a short video of silent nature scenes.
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