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No. 29: Sep-Oct 1993

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Solving Problems In Your Sleep

Psychiatrist Morton Schatzman is investigating how some people solve problems in their dreams. Part of his research involves assigning problems (really brain twisters) to students, who are then supposed to solve them in their sleep. One problem posed asked the students to discover how to generate the remaining letters in the following infinite, non-repeating sequence of letters OTTFF ... Seven students said they discovered the correct answer in their dreams. Another twister concerned the letter sequence HIJKLMNO. What single English word is represented by this string of letters? One student dreamed he was swimming but failed to make the proper connection.

(Schatzman, Morton; "Solving Problems in Your Sleep," New Scientist, 98:692, 1983.)

Answers: (1) SSEN..., for Six, Seven, Eight, Nine,... (2) "Water" for H-to-O. Cute!

From Science Frontiers #29, SEP-OCT 1983. 1983-2000 William R. Corliss