As of late, some new findings have come out that are really taking things to a new level. Communicating with people who are sleeping isn’t easy, but it is possible, apparently.
Researchers at Northwestern University have managed to get people to answer questions and even go so far as to work through math problems while in their lucid dream state. For those who might not quite understand this, to get to this state you typically have to get to a REM sleep state, and being able to answer anything at that point accurately is quite mind-blowing for a lot of reasons.
This experiment and the findings it brought forth were published on the 18th of this month under the title ‘Real-time dialogue between experimenters and dreamers during REM sleep’ in the journal Current Biology. You see, this is special as usually when it comes to dream reports and so forth the things people share forth are distorted and not as complete as they should be. While this does need more research moving forward, it is quite interesting to learn about.
The abstract of this study goes as follows:
Dreams take us to a different reality, a hallucinatory world that feels as real as any waking experience. These often-bizarre episodes are emblematic of human sleep but have yet to be adequately explained. Retrospective dream reports are subject to distortion and forgetting, presenting a fundamental challenge for neuroscientific studies of dreaming. Here we show that individuals who are asleep and in the midst of a lucid dream (aware of the fact that they are currently dreaming) can perceive questions from an experimenter and provide answers using electrophysiological signals. We implemented our procedures for two-way communication during polysomnographically verified rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep in 36 individuals. Some had minimal prior experience with lucid dreaming, others were frequent lucid dreamers, and one was a patient with narcolepsy who had frequent lucid dreams. During REM sleep, these individuals exhibited various capabilities, including performing veridical perceptual analysis of novel information, maintaining information in working memory, computing simple answers, and expressing volitional replies. Their responses included distinctive eye movements and selective facial muscle contractions, constituting correctly answered questions on 29 occasions across 6 of the individuals tested. These repeated observations of interactive dreaming, documented by four independent laboratory groups, demonstrate that phenomenological and cognitive characteristics of dreaming can be interrogated in real time. This relatively unexplored communication channel can enable a variety of practical applications and a new strategy for the empirical exploration of dreams.
What do you think about this study? I for one think it’s quite interesting. Who knows what else could come forth once more research is done on the topic.