The study uses artificial intelligence to analyze the content of nightmares, using data from more than 800 people during a pandemic lockout in Finland.
COVID-19 made 2020 a nightmare for many as they struggled with health problems, economic uncertainty and other challenges. Now a team of researchers in Finland is proving that the pandemic is a really bad dream. -An article published Boundaries in psychology, scientists have used artificial intelligence to help analyze the imaginary content of nearly a thousand people, and the new coronavirus has infected more than half of troubled dreams.
Researchers provided massive sleep and stress data to more than 4,000 people during the sixth week of COVID-19 locking in Finland. About 800 respondents reported their dreams at the time – many of whom shared a common concern about the pandemic.
Dr. Helsinki University Sleep & Mind Research Group Director. Anu-Katriina Pesonen said, “We are thrilled to observe recurring imaginary content circles among individuals that reflect the apocalyptic environment of COVID-19 locking.” “The results suggest that dreaming in extreme conditions reveals traces of a common visual image and memory, and in this way dreams can represent a kind of way of thinking shared between individuals.”
“The idea of a shared image reflected in dreams is intriguing,” he said.
Pesonen and his team transcribed the contents of the dreams into English word lists and put the data into an AI algorithm that scans frequently seen word associations. Computer researchers have built what they call dream groups out of “small sleep particles” rather than all dreams.
Finally, 33 fantasy groups or themes emerged. Twenty percent of sleep groups were classified as nightmares, and 55 percent of them had pandemic content. Topics such as social distance failures, coronavirus infection, personal protective equipment, dystopia, and apocalypse were assessed as specific to the pandemic.
For example, the words in a dream group labeled “Ignore Distance” included incorrect hugging, hugging, shaking hands, shaking hands, limiting, squeezing, pushing away, pushing away, limiting with the crowd, and crowding-party.
Pesonen said, “The computational linguistics we use is based on, with the help of artificial intelligence, analytics is really a new approach to imaginative research.” “We hope to see more AI imaginary research in the future. We hope that our research has led to progress in this direction. ”
The study also provided some information on people’s sleep patterns and stress levels during pandemic locking. For example, more than half of respondents reported more sleep than during their quarantine period, 10 percent reported difficulty falling asleep, and more than a quarter reported more nightmares.
Not surprisingly, more than half of the study participants reported increases in stress levels that were more closely related to patterns such as adequate sleep and poor sleep. Most stressors also dreamed of a pandemic. The study could provide valuable information for medical professionals who are already assessing the damage that coronavirus does to mental health. According to Peson, sleep is a central factor in all mental health problems.
“Recurrent, severe nightmares can be attributed to post-traumatic stress,” he said. “The content of dreams is not entirely random, but it can be an important key to understanding what the experience of stress, trauma, and anxiety is all about.”
Reference: “Pandemic Dreams: COVID-19 Dream Content Analysis Network” developed by Anu-Katriina Pesonen, Jari Lipsanen, Risto Halonen, Marco Elovainio, Nils Sandman, Juha-Matti Mäkelä, Minea Antila, Deni Béchard, Hanna M. Ollila and Liisa Kuula, October 1, 20, Boundaries in psychology.
DOI: 10.3389 / fpsyg.2020.573961