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译文《大西洋月刊》 清醒与睡眠间的迷幻状态及对意识研究意义

已有 1922 次阅读 2017-10-17 10:47 |个人分类:译文|系统分类:科研笔记| 意识

译文:《大西洋月刊》 清醒与睡眠之间的迷幻状态,以及它如何能帮我们解决人类意识之谜

The Atlantic The Trippy State Between Wakefulness and Sleep

And how it can help solve the mystery of human consciousness.

作者:VAUGHAN BELL,   译者:康华岳

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/04/deciphering-hypnagogia/478941/

Mark Makela / Reuters

VAUGHAN BELL APR 20, 2016  SCIENCE

There is a brief time, between waking and sleep, when reality begins to warp. Rigid conscious thought starts to dissolve into the gently lapping waves of early stage dreaming and the world becomes a little more hallucinatory, your thoughts a little more untethered. Known as the hypnagogic state, it has received only erratic attention from researchers over the years, but a recent series of studies have renewed interest in this twilight period, with the hope it can reveal something fundamental about consciousness itself.

在清醒和睡眠之间,有一段稍纵即逝的时间,这时“实在”开始扭曲。严格而清醒的思想开始消解成轻轻重叠起的波纹,它们是早期的梦境,而后你的世界变得更似幻觉,你的思想变得更不被束缚。这一时期被称为睡前模糊状态,这些年来,它只是偶而被研究者们注意到,但新近的一系列研究已经重新恢复了对这段朦胧时期的兴趣,人们希望借此以揭示意识本身的一些基础事实。

Traditionally, the hypnagogic state has been studied as part of the sleep disorder narcolepsy, where the brains inability to separate waking life and dreaming can result in terrifying hallucinations. But its also part of the normal transition into sleep, beginning when our mind is first affected by drowsiness and ending when we finally lose consciousness. It is brief and often slips by unnoticed, but consistent careful attention to your inner experience after you bed down can reveal an unfolding mindscape of curious sounds, abstract scenery, and tumbling thoughts. This meandering cognitive state results from what Cambridge University researcher Valdas Noreika calls a natural fragmentation of consciousnessand the idea that this can be tracked over the early minutes of sleep entry is the basis of recent hypnagogia research.

传统上,睡前模糊期被作为睡眠失调的嗜睡症的一部分来进行研究,这种症状是因为大脑不能区分清醒的生活和梦境,进而产生可怕的幻觉。但它也是转入睡眠状态的一个正常的部分,它开始于我们的心灵刚刚被昏昏欲睡的状态所影响,结束于我们最终失去意识。它转瞬即逝,且常常悄悄溜走而未被留意,但,如果在睡下后对你自己内在的体验进行持续而仔细的注意的话,就会揭示出一个展开来了的心境,这里有奇怪的声音,抽象的景色,翻腾的思绪。

这个蜿蜒曲折的认知状态来自剑桥大学研究者Valdas Noreika 所说的“意识的自然碎片”,而人们认为,这个状态可以追溯至临睡前几分钟的整个时间段,则是新近睡前模糊研究的基础。

A recent proof-of-principle study, led by Noreika, intensively studied a single individual as he repeatedly transitioned into sleep while the brains electrical activity was recorded using EEG scalp electrodes. The would-be-sleeper was asked to press a button when he experienced an intrusive thought or image, and to verbally report it to the sleep researchers. The descriptions were pleasantly bizarre: putting a horse into a sort of violin case and zipping it up,” “the phrase learning to consume consciously from a master,” “visual image of a curled up music manuscript.

新近,在一项由Noreika领导的原则性证明研究里,集中地研究了一个个体——在他不断转入睡眠时,对他的脑电活动被脑电图头皮电极进行了记录。这个准睡眠者被要求在他感受到一个入侵的思绪或图像时按下一个按钮,并且口头地将它报告给睡眠研究者。这些描述既愉悦又怪诞:“把一匹马放进类似小提琴盒子的东西里并拉上拉链,”“短语学习有意识地消费来自一个大师”“一个卷曲的音乐手稿的视觉图像。”

When we enter sleep, the brain steadily dismantles the models and concepts we use to interpret the world, leading to moments of experience unconstrained by our usual mental filters.

The electrical activity of the brain became steadily more predictable the longer the person lay stillsomething thats entirely normal for sleep entry. Unexpectedly though, the hypnagogic intrusions were preceded not by sudden bursts of complex brain activity, like sparks in a fading candle, but by sudden changes to a more orderly brain state. Noreika is working on the hypothesis that when we enter sleep, the brain steadily dismantles the models and concepts we use to interpret the world, leading to moments of experience unconstrained by our usual mental filters.

当我们进入睡眠状态时,大脑稳定地去除我们用来诠释世界的模式和概念,进而导致片刻的未被我们的心灵过滤器所限制的体验。一个人躺下的时间越久,其脑电活动就越来越稳固而更容易被预测——这是入睡时完全正常的事儿。然而,出乎意料的是,发生在睡前模糊状态的入侵之前的,并不像正在熄灭的蜡烛的火星一样,是复杂脑活动的突然爆发,而是突然转向更有秩序的大脑状态的一些改变。Noreika正在研究睡前模糊状态,即,当我们进入睡眠状态时,大脑稳定地去除我们用来诠释世界的模式和概念,进而导致片刻的未被我们的心灵过滤器所限制的体验。

This is intuitively appealing and would fit with one of the most curious aspects of the hypnagogic experience: Our thoughts can stray towards tumbling horses, zips and violins but they also can seem completely unremarkable, and indeed, entirely reasonable, until we are jolted from our reverie. Only at this point do they seem odd or out-of-context.

这在直觉上很吸引人并且符合睡前模糊体验里最古怪的方面之一:我们的思绪可以偏向翻腾的马,拉链以及小提琴,但它们也可以被当作完全没有什么神奇的,确实,这完全有道理——直到我们被自己的幻想所惊醒。只有在这个时候,它们看上去才奇异或离题。

The difficulty that people have detecting the strangeness of these experiences prompted psychologists Clemens and Jana Speth, both at the University of Dundee, to examine reports of hypnagogic intrusions. As Clemens says, the two were hoping to develop a timeline that shows what elements of consciousness decline or emerge as people drift into sleep.Applying linguistic analysis to data from a sleep lab, they found evidence that reflective thoughtthe ability to evaluate ongoing experiencedeclined quickly during the hypnagogic state while thoughts about physical interaction with the imaginary world increased, indicating a change in the structure and not just the content of conscious thought.

因为捕捉这些经验的奇特性很难,这就促使邓迪大学的心理学家Clemens Jana Speth来检查睡前模糊入侵的报道。就如Clemens所说的,他们俩希望“发展出一个时间线来展示出人们滑入睡眠时意识的什么成分下降或浮现。”运用从一个睡眠实验室得出的数据所进行的语言分析,他们发现反省性质的思绪——评估正在进行的经验的能力——在睡前模糊状态里快速下降,而关于身体与想象世界作用的思绪却提升了,这意味着清醒的思绪的结构而不只是内容发生了变化。

Similarly, by comparing the hypnagogic state to REM dreaming, a 2013 study by the same researchers confirmed the long-noted observation that while dreams often feel fully immersive, hypnagogia tends to be experienced as if we were passive observerswith the hallucinatory thoughts and images occurring as a projection on our existing sense of reality. (In a famous passage on hypnagogia in Oliver Twist, Dickens wrote of the visionary scenes that pass before us.) The fact that our sense of immersion and reflective distance from our own experience do not always co-occur during sleep may suggest they also have different roles in waking consciousness.

类似地,通过对比睡前模糊状态和快速眼动睡眠时做梦的状态,一项2013由同一组研究者进行的研究确认,人们长期注意到的一个事实是,在做梦时候,人是完全沉浸其中的,而睡前模糊状态则更倾向于让人们以被动观察者的视角来感觉到——这些幻觉似的思绪和图像投射到我们对“实在”的既有感知之上。(在《雾都孤儿》里有一段关于睡前模糊状态的著名段落,狄更斯写道,“视觉景象在我们前面掠过。”)在睡眠中,我们的沉浸式和反省式的感觉与自己的体验之间的分离并不总是同时发生的,这一事实,或许暗示,它们在我们清醒时也有扮演着不同的角色。

Researchers are working not only as neuroscientists but also as archivists of the unconstrained mind.

Admittedly, studies from this new wave of interest in hypnagogia are small and still tentative but they reflect a growing trend towards understanding sleep not just as a state of rest and consolidation, but also as a scientific tool for observing the components of consciousness as they are stripped away for entry into slumber. What these studies may be hinting at, is that the brain processes involved in sustaining consciousness might also be central to maintaining a stable, insightful experience of the worldin other words, keeping  hallucinations in check.

研究者们不仅以神经科学家的身份,而且以那颗不受束缚的心灵的档案员的身份来工作。需要承认,从这股对睡前模糊状态的新兴趣的浪潮中所得出的研究结果还很少,而且仍是尝试性的,但它们反映出了一种大趋势,就是,在意识被剥离而进入睡眠的时候,人们不仅把睡眠理解成是放松与整合状态,也把它当作一种观察意识的组成成分的科学手段。这些研究可能提供的益处在于,那些有关于维持意识的大脑过程,或许对于维持人们对世界产生出一个稳定而有洞察力的经验而言,也是最重要的——换言之,它们使幻觉被控制住了。

Francesca Siclari, a sleep and consciousness researcher at the University Hospital of Lausanne, in Switzerland, also hopes this new wave of interest will result in more practical benefits. The transition to sleep provides a unique opportunity, as one can study how changes in consciousness relate to changes in brain activity,she says. This process is not only fundamental to the study of consciousness, it may also shed light on sleep disorders that are associated with an abnormal transition to sleep.

Francesca Siclari是一个来瑞士自洛桑大学医院的睡眠和意识研究者,她也希望这股新的兴趣能产生出更多实用性的益处。“转入睡眠这个时期提供了一个独一无二的机会,因为人们可以借此研究意识的变化与大脑活动之间是如何关联的,”她说。“这个过程不仅仅对于意识研究而言是基础性的,它或许也会对睡眠失调的研究产生启发,因为睡眠失调涉及到一个入睡时的异常转变。”

But there is a more whimsical aspect to this work. Sleep researchers across the world are now dedicated to recording some of the most ephemeral moments of human weirdness, which are often lost to memory after the drama and haze of dream and sleep. Talking bears are being documented. Falling school friends, noted. Researchers are working not only as neuroscientists but also as archivists of the unconstrained mind.

但是这项工作还有一个更加异想天开的方面。全球范围内的睡眠研究者们现在决心来记录一些人类的怪异行为中最为短暂的时刻,它们经常在戏剧性的出现后以及梦境和睡眠的朦胧后未留下记忆。会说话的熊正在被记录着。辍学的朋友被记录下。研究者们不仅以神经科学家的身份,而且以那颗不受束缚的心灵的档案员的身份来工作。

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VAUGHAN BELL is a writer based in London. He is a senior clinical lecturer at University College London and a clinical psychologist with the U.K.s National Health Service.

关于作者

VAUGHAN BELL是一个在伦敦的作者。他是伦敦大学学院的高级临床讲师,以及英国国家健康服务系统的临床心理学家。

PS:译文仅作学习目的。鉴于能力有限,几处长句可能翻译错了,还望轻拍......




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