Do newborn mammals dream the world they’re entering?

Researchers found that newborn mouse “dream” the world before they can see it. Credit: Bridget H.

When a newborn mammal first opens its eyes, it can already make sense of the world around it. If it’s never used its eyes before, how is that possible? In a recent study published in Science, researchers explored the brain activity of newborn mice and found waves of activity emanating from the retina—a sort of dreamlike experience that takes place before it’s replaced by a more mature network.

“This early dream-like activity makes evolutionary sense because it allows a mouse to anticipate what it will experience after opening its eyes, and be prepared to respond immediately to environmental threats,” says Yale professor Michael Crair, the senior author of the study.

Watch a video of newborn mouse neurons firing below, and read more from Yale here.