Essay 7 in Monkeyluv, “Why Are Dreams Dreamlike” discusses how our frontal cortex is often completely offline during REM sleep – while we are dreaming. In the introduction to the second part of the book, Sapolsky states that chapter 7 will also discuss how in “every one of us it (the frontal cortex) is completely dysfunctional, shut down, and out of business many times each day.” However, the chapter talks strictly about when the prefrontal cortex is shut off during dreams, and does not touch on these “many times each day” portion. I am interested to know the other times throughout the day that this area of the brain is offline. Are there triggers which cause it to be completely dysfunctional – certain events, fatigue, neurotransmitters? What are the advantages to giving this section of the brain a break? Are there individual differences which would cause some people’s frontal cortices to be shut down more or less than others’? Since Sapolsky dropped the ball, maybe one of you can help!
In this same vein, I wonder how similar brain activity is during a day dream compared to a REM dream – maybe while the mind wanders, or day dreams, the frontal cortex takes a breather just like it would during a REM dream.