RaveScience MagIn When Brains Dream , sleep scientists Antonio Zadra and Robert Stickgold detail the latest research that seeks to understand what occurs in our brains when we dream, and they present theories about what purposes dreaming may serve. The book takes the reader from humanity’s early religious understanding of dreams, through our initial attempts to study the psychology of dreaming, to current experiments on the neurophysiology of the sleeping brain, providing relatable and often humorous anecdotal evidence from the authors’ own lives and work along the way ... n the latter half of the book, the authors present the ambitious theory that dreams themselves, not just the dream sleep state, play a critical role in the consolidation of memories—a theory they refer to as network exploration to understand possibilities ... They maintain that dreams, rather than merely repeating the events of the day to cement them into long-term storage, allow our brains to freely explore memories that have been filed away over time, extracting information and developing a narrative based on associations ... But why do dreams take on a narrative structure at all? The authors suggest that the narrative allows the dreamer to explore and evaluate possible scenarios, providing a mechanism by which a verdict can be rendered. Dreams that elicit strong emotions, they argue, may cue the brain about the association’s potential utility, which may in turn lead to a strengthening of that association.