Lucid dreams can be induced, scientists claim
The technique could be used to help victims of post-traumatic stress disorders
Nightmarish dreams, from losing your house keys to falling into a pit of spiders, may one day be a thing of the past thanks to a new study.
By applying an electrical current to a sleeping person’s brain, scientists claim they are able to induce so-called ‘lucid’ dreams.
During this type of dream, depicted in the Oscar-winning film Inception, a person becomes aware they are unconscious, and can sometimes control their visions.
Scientists believe their findings are an important leap towards understanding the connection between lucid dreaming and brain waves of a specific frequency.
To make their findings, the team built on lab studies which measured electrical activity in the brains of volunteers as they slept.
Those who took part in the experiment reported that they had experienced lucid dreams during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep.
The results from electroencephalograms revealed that those dreams were accompanied by tell-tale electrical activity called gamma waves – usually linked to higher-order thinking, and awareness of one’s mental state.
Scientists led by psychologist Ursula Voss of JW Goethe-University in Frankfurt, Germany, used the outcome to hypothesise that lucid dreams could be brought on by exposing a sleeping person to gamma waves at the same frequency documented in the volunteers.
When the correct gamma wave frequency was applied, the 27 volunteers reported that they were aware that they were unconscious.
The volunteers were also able to control the plot of their dream, and said they felt as if their dream self was a third party whom they were merely observing.
While safety concerns surrounding applying electrical currents to the brain mean that dream-controlling machines are unlikely to be on sale in the near future, the technique could soon be used to treat debilitating mental illnesses.
The method may help people with post-traumatic stress disorder, who often have terrifying dreams in which they re-play a harrowing experience. If they can dream lucidly, they might be able to bring about a different outcome.
“By learning how to control the dream and distance oneself from the dream,” Voss said, PTSD patients could reduce the emotional impact and begin to recover.
Additional reporting by Reuters
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
Costa Concordia finally towed from Giglio amid environmental concerns that cruise liner is a 'floating bomb'
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...