Modern science of sleep is starting to lean towards a viewpoint that dopamine has an important function in dreaming, and that dopaminergic pathways - mesolimbic and mesocortical are activated during dreaming.
Here's what the list of functions that dopamine is responsible for in the human brain:
Inside the brain, dopamine plays important roles in motor control, motivation, arousal, cognition, and reward, as well as a number of basic lower-level functions including lactation, sexual gratification, and nausea.
With this in mind, I'm posing the following question: Can random activation of dopaminergic system during dreaming cause dreams of stimuli which activated dopaminergic system during waking state? In other words, if perceiving sexual stimuli triggers dopaminergic system activation, can similar activation during dreaming cause recollection of the sexual stimuli?
- Seeing erotic image -> causes dopaminergic system activation
- Activation of dopaminergic system -> can it cause recall of erotic image or some other experience from the list above?
Has there been any research into what happens when a person's dopaminergic system (mesolimbic and mesocortical pathways of Ventral Tegmental Area) is artificially stimulated (like during brain surgery) - does this cause recall of experiences, desires or cravings or other things people "want"?