Dreams and dreaming; brain scans for personality traits; extrovert listening

Many of us tend to dismiss dreams as merely the churning of the brain— but for much of human history, dreams were taken very seriously. Claudia Hammond speaks to Brazilian neuroscientist Sidarta Ribeiro who in his new wide ranging book The Oracle of Night wants to recapture that seriousness of dreams and the science of dreaming, drawing upon on his extensive career researching everything from sleep and memory to psychedelic drugs.

As brain scans have become more detailed in recent decades, MRI or magnetic resonance imaging - has revealed correlations between brain anatomy or function and illness, that have suggested new ways to diagnose and treat psychiatric, psychological and neurological conditions. But why has the promise been so slow to turn into reality? Claudia Hammond is joined by Sophie Scott, Director of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and also by neuroscientist Scott Marek of Washington University in St Louis. His new research offers some insights into why.

Good listening is truly hearing what the other person has to say without putting your own layer of experience on top of it. But who’s best at it – extroverts or introverts? Today’s studio guest, Prof.Catherine Loveday of the University of Westminster weighs up the latest evidence.

Producer Adrian Washbourne