Scientists Communicate With Lucid Dreamers In Breakthrough Study
Scientists have been able to communicate with lucid dreamers while they sleep, a new international study shows.
The team of researchers carried out the study, titled Real-time dialogue between experimenters and dreamers during REM sleep, in a bid to get a better understanding of lucid dreaming.
The breakthrough study found that individuals in the midst of a lucid dream can perceive questions from an experimenter and provide answers using pre-determined signals, such as distinctive eye movements.
Published yesterday, February 18, in Current Biology, the research asked 36 people to fall into a state of ‘lucid sleep’ in laboratories in the US, Germany, the Netherlands and France.
The group was comprised of experienced lucid dreamers, those who had never experienced lucid dreaming and one individual with narcolepsy.
Upon falling asleep, many of the study’s participants produced a pre-arranged response, a series of left-right eye signals, to indicate that they were experiencing a lucid dream. The study said the group had received training beforehand on how to do this.
To their surprise, the scientists found some members of the group could communicate while in this state.
One 19-year-old participant from the US, who has only had two lucid dreams previously, was presented with a math problem: eight minus six. He responded with two left-right eye movements to signal the correct answer.
When the math problem was repeated, he was able to answer correctly a second time.
Another participant, a 35-year-old from Germany who is an experienced lucid dreamer, was presented with a math problem: four minus zero. He signalled back with the correct answer. Interestingly, upon waking up he recalled hearing the message ‘four plus zero’ during his dream.
‘One thing that surprised us is that you could just say a sentence to somebody, and they could understand it just as it actually is,’ Karen Konkoly, a PhD student in the US who worked on the study, told Vice.
Of those who participated in the study, 18% could clearly and accurately communicate while lucid dreaming, 17% produced indecipherable answers and 3% gave incorrect answers. Two-thirds of respondents did not produce any response at all.
‘It’s amazing to sit in the lab and ask a bunch of questions, and then somebody might actually answer one,’ Konkoly said.
She added: ‘It’s such an immediately rewarding type of experiment to do. You don’t have to wait to analyze your data or anything like that. You can see it right there while they’re still sleeping.’
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