The veil between Dreamworld and reality may be much thinner than we thought. In a new study released on Thursday, scientists from four countries say they have shown it possible to communicate with people even though they suffer from nightmares. At least some of the time, dreamers were reportedly able to answer yes-or-no questions and answer simple math problems through facial and eye movements; Later, some recalled having questions during their dreams.
Cognitive neuroscientist and study writer Ken Palar and his colleagues at Northwestern University in Chicago have studied the association between sleep and memory over the years. It is commonly thought that sleep is important for the strong storage of memories created throughout the day. But little is still understood about this process and how dreams can play a role in it.
“We are investigating dreamers to learn more about dreaming and how they can be useful for mental work while awake,” Palar told Gizmodo in an email. “Like our other works, we hypothesize that sleep cognition events may be beneficial for memory function.”
One of the reasons why dreaming is difficult to understand is that most of us have complete trouble remembering our dreams, when we wake up, much less to others. But Palar and his team have been trying to communicate with sleepers for a long time. His previous research has shown that people can be influenced by the sounds of the outside world while sleeping. Other research on attractive dreamers – those who claim awareness and sometimes control their dreams – has suggested that they may signal to outside observers through eye movements while dreaming ( In 2018, a study suggested that these eye movements can be used to tell when a person has entered a state of dream.).
Many people are familiar with one-way communication with a sleeping person, as sleepwalking and sleepwalking are common occurrences. But Palar’s team argued that there should be two-way communication between the dreamers and the waking observers and that the dreamers should be able to recall these conversations. He also said that this communication can be stimulated and repeated in the laboratory under the right conditions, which would be great for future sleep research. As it turns out, he was not the only scientist to hold this view. At least three other research groups in France, Germany and the Netherlands were pursuing the same goal.
“The research groups studied independently, and later we found that we had done similar studies in different countries. Then we decided to publish all our results simultaneously – cooperatively, but also competitively.
The study was published in Current Biology on Thursday, while work will also be shown in a PBS documentary on Friday (the section can already be viewed here on YouTube).
In total, 36 volunteers were involved in the study. Some of the dream specialists were specialists in dream dreams, particularly the 20-year-old French participant with narcolepsy, which made it possible for them to achieve REM sleep (the sleep state when dreams are most common) within the first minute of 20 minutes. . Minute nap Other participants had no prior experience of lucid dreaming, but Palar’s team attempted to train all of their subjects to initiate a lucrative dream when they heard a certain sound while sleeping. Some teams used spoken words or vowels to communicate; Others relied on flashing lights or lightly touching sleepers. Volunteers were also observed through specific sleep measurements such as EEG, which records brain activity.
During 57 sleep sessions, participants were able to indicate that they had a lucid dream through eye movements 26% of the time. In these successful sessions, scientists were able to get at least one correct response in about half the time through the dreamer’s eye movements or facial contraceptives. Overall, they tried to communicate with an explicit dreamer 158 times during these sessions, with a correct response rate of 18% (the most common response, about 60%, was no response).
When volunteers were asked about their experiences, some were reported to be able to remember the pre-dream instructions they had received and attempted to carry them. Some people also listened to the questions found in the dream, though not always in the same way. Some people heard the words clearly feeling that they were coming from outside their current reality, while others said that it felt like they were listening to them through radio or some other form of communication within the dream Were. But there were still times when people could not remember clearly what had happened or when they said that the questions they had received in the dream did not match the questions that were actually received.