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Researchers have succeeded in communicating with dreaming people
We landed on the moon, dived into the deepest trenches of the sea and climbed the highest peaks. Now researchers have made a major foray into new territory: the world of dreams.
According to a study published on February 18 in the journal Current Biology was published, an international team has succeeded in communicating with people in their lucid dreams. Lucid dreams, also known as lucid dreams, are dreams in which you know you are dreaming and casually fly around, jump down cliffs or orchestrate wild orgies.
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The test subjects managed to correctly answer questions and simple tasks in REM sleep, i.e. the dream phase. This enables "a new strategy for the empirical investigation of dreams," says the study.
"There are studies of people who communicate from their lucid dreams and do tasks that they were previously asked to do," says Karen Konkoly on the phone. The doctoral candidate at Northwestern University in Illinois is the lead author of the study. "But there is very little research on stimuli that go into lucid dreams."
Konkoly and her colleagues had recruited 36 people to have lucid dreams in sleep laboratories in the US, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Among the subjects were several people who had already had some exercise with lucid dreams, a person with narcolepsy, and some who had less experience with it.
With the help of electrodes that they attached to the head and face of the test subjects, the researchers ensured that the test subjects were also in the REM sleep phase. Some participants were also asked to confirm that they were in a dream. To do this, they moved their eyes in a special left-right movement that they had agreed upon beforehand.
Together with grimaces, these eye signals served as a means of communication during sleep. For example, the researchers asked a dreaming 19-year-old participant from the United States what eight minus six is. He replied with two eye movements from left to right: two. They repeated the question and he answered correctly again.
Around 18 percent of the attempts led to such a clear and accurate communication with the dreaming. 17 percent produced illegible answers, three percent wrong and 60 percent did not answer at all.
Even if that doesn't sound like much at first, Konkoly is enthusiastic about the experiments: "It's one of those experiments that are immediately rewarded. You don't have to wait until you have analyzed your data. You can see it directly while they are still asleep . "
But not only that: many participants in the study were able to remember their interactions with the researchers after waking up. They stated that the prompts in their dreams were like a speaker from the off or like from a radio.
But just as we can often only remember fragments of our dreams, some test subjects also remembered other questions after waking up than the ones they had been asked.
Building on this study, the team is now planning further experiments to further explore the possibilities of communication with lucid dreamers.
"We thought of a lot of experiments that we could do with it," says Konkoly. "At the moment we are working on the following questions: How can we optimize the process? What can we do so that it works more often? How can we get people to have more lucid dreams? How can we communicate more reliably with the dreaming?"
Konkoly is definitely looking forward to the work that lies ahead of them.
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