Have you ever been interrupted in the middle of a dream by someone from the realm of consciousness who asked you a question and, without waking, you answered them and then continued on with the dream? Oh, and the whole thing was thoroughly documented, digitally, including brain scans made while you were asleep in an MRI scanner.
Four research teams, each employing and testing their own techniques, have proven that it’s possible to have two-way communications with a sleeping person in a dream state. The teams are based in the Netherlands (Radboud University Medical Center), Germany (Osnabrück University), France (Sorbonne University), and the United States (Northwestern University). Some of the study participants were experienced ‘lucid dreamers’, while others were trained in the technique before beginning the study. ‘Lucid dreaming’ is a phenomenon wherein the sleeping individual knows they’re asleep and dreaming. They might even be able to redirect the course of the dream.
Relying on polysomnographic machines to verify each test subject had entered a state of REM sleep, researchers then posed simple questions or math problems to each study participant. Each participant was instructed to move their eyes in response to questions, indicating yes or no, or a numeric value, proving that communication was taking place between the conscious scientists and the unconscious test subjects.
Sixty percent of the time, researchers recieved no response to their qustions, but did recieve correct responses 18.4% of the time, and incorrect responses 3.2% of the time. The remaining 17.7% of the time the answers to their questions were judged to be inconclusive.
In one experiment, participants who were smokers recorded the number of cigarettes they had smoked for one week, but were not told why they were asked to do so. They were then connected to a device that presented the smell of cigarette smoke along with an unpleasant odor while they slept and dreamt. The following week, they were asked to again record their cigarette consumption. Results showed that smoking was reduced significantly.
This is both exciting news, and a bit scary. If someone can get you to reduce your consumption habits of a product without your knowledge, it stands to reason they can also get you to increase your consumption of a brand without your knowledge. At least with television and radio ads, the target audience is (ostensibly) conscious.
Watch the following informative video for more details. (Ignore the splash screen, the video is much more interesting than that).
“Dream Hacking: Watch 3 Groundbreaking Experiments on Decisions, Addictions, and Sleep I NOVA I PBS” (14:34):
Question of the Night: If androids dream of electric sheep, what do you dream about?