Dreaming and wakefulness are two ways of being yourself

The definition of consciousness is harder to pin down than you might think, argues cognitive neuroscientist Elizaveta Solomonova.

Produced in partnership with Science at Pioneer Works

Massive sat down with Elizaveta Solomonova, a cognitive neuroscientist, to talk about the complicated boundaries between different states of consciousness such as dreaming and wakefulness. She views these states as existing on a spectrum of consciousness. 

In this beautiful visual rumination on her words by animators Brian Smee and Isabelle Aspin, we are transported into dream states and waking nightmares, transposed onto waking realities. Solomonova describes the evolutionary bias that has emphasized the idea of waking consciousness as more important than dreaming. 

"I don't think that waking consciousness and dreaming consciousness are supposed to be in any contradiction, nor do I think that dreaming consciousness has to somehow be subservient or serve a function in order to maintain waking consciousness. I think these are just different qualities of being."

Solomonova is pursuing a degree in Cognitive Neuroscience and Philosophy. Her work is focused on interdisciplinary research of consciousness and experience across wake-sleep states.