Human cognition during REM sleep and the activity profile within frontal and parietal cortices: a reappraisal of functional neuroimaging data

Abstract
In this chapter, we aimed at further characterizing the functional neuroanatomy of the human rapid eye movement (REM) sleep at the population level. We carried out a meta-analysis of a large dataset of positron emission tomography (PET) scans acquired during wakefulness, slow wave sleep and REM sleep, and focused especially on the brain areas in which the activity diminishes during REM sleep. Results show that quiescent regions are confined to the inferior and middle frontal cortex and to the inferior parietal lobule. Providing a plausible explanation for some of the features of dream reports, these findings may help in refining the concepts, which try to account for human cognition during REM sleep. In particular, we discuss the significance of these results to explain the alteration in executive processes, episodic memory retrieval and self representation during REM sleep dreaming as well as the incorporation of external stimuli into the dream narrative.
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