Frederick Van Eeden said the seventh type of dreaming, lucid dreaming, was the most interesting and worthy of the most careful observation of studies. Eeden studied lucid dreaming between January 20, , and December 26, While describing this state of dreaming, Eeden said, 'you are completely aware of your surroundings and are able to direct your actions freely, yet the sleep is stimulating and uninterrupted. Early references to the phenomenon are found in ancient Greek writing.
For example, the philosopher Aristotle wrote: 'often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream'. In Eastern thought, cultivating the dreamer's ability to be aware that he or she is dreaming is central to both the Tibetan Buddhist practice of dream Yoga , and the ancient Indian Hindu practice of Yoga nidra.
The cultivation of such awareness was common practice among early Buddhists. Philosopher and physician Sir Thomas Browne — was fascinated by dreams and described his own ability to lucid dream in his Religio Medici , stating: ' Samuel Pepys in his diary entry for 15 August records a dream, stating: "I had my Lady Castlemayne in my arms and was admitted to use all the dalliance I desired with her, and then dreamt that this could not be awake, but that it was only a dream".
In , Dutch psychiatrist and writer Frederik Willem van Eeden — coined the term 'lucid dream' in an article entitled "A Study of Dreams".
Some have suggested that the term is a misnomer because van Eeden was referring to a phenomenon more specific than a lucid dream. In , Celia Green analyzed the main characteristics of such dreams, reviewing previously published literature on the subject and incorporating new data from participants of her own. She concluded that lucid dreams were a category of experience quite distinct from ordinary dreams and said they were associated with rapid eye movement sleep REM sleep.
Green was also the first to link lucid dreams to the phenomenon of false awakenings.
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Lucid dreaming was subsequently researched by asking dreamers to perform pre-determined physical responses while experiencing a dream, including eye movement signals. In , Stephen LaBerge at Stanford University developed such techniques as part of his doctoral dissertation. Lucid dreamers counted out ten seconds while dreaming, signaling the start and the end of the count with a pre-arranged eye signal measured with electrooculogram recording. Erlacher and M. Schredl in In a further study by Stephen LaBerge, four subjects were compared either singing while dreaming or counting while dreaming.
LaBerge found that the right hemisphere was more active during singing and the left hemisphere was more active during counting. Neuroscientist J. Allan Hobson has hypothesized what might be occurring in the brain while lucid. The first step to lucid dreaming is recognizing one is dreaming. This recognition might occur in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex , which is one of the few areas deactivated during REM sleep and where working memory occurs.
Once this area is activated and the recognition of dreaming occurs, the dreamer must be cautious to let the dream continue but be conscious enough to remember that it is a dream. While maintaining this balance, the amygdala and parahippocampal cortex might be less intensely activated.
Paul Tholey, a German Gestalt psychologist and a professor of psychology and sports science , originally studied dreams in order to answer the question if one dreams in colour or black and white. In his phenomenological research, he outlined an epistemological frame using critical realism. He called this technique for inducing lucid dreams the Reflexionstechnik reflection technique.
Tholey could examine the cognitive abilities of dream figures. Dream figures who agreed to perform the tasks proved more successful in verbal than in arithmetic tasks. Tholey discussed his scientific results with Stephen LaBerge, who has a similar approach.
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Other researchers suggest that lucid dreaming is not a state of sleep, but of brief wakefulness, or "micro-awakening". J Allen Hobson responded that lucid dreaming must be a state of both waking and dreaming.
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Philosopher Norman Malcolm has argued against the possibility of checking the accuracy of dream reports, pointing out that "the only criterion of the truth of a statement that someone has had a certain dream is, essentially, his saying so. Paul Tholey laid the epistemological basis for the research of lucid dreams, proposing seven different conditions of clarity that a dream must fulfill in order to be defined as a lucid dream:   .
Later, in , a study by Deirdre Barrett examined whether lucid dreams contained four " corollaries " of lucidity:. Barrett found less than a quarter of lucidity accounts exhibited all four. Subsequently, Stephen LaBerge studied the prevalence of being able to control the dream scenario among lucid dreams, and found that while dream control and dream awareness are correlated, neither requires the other. LaBerge found dreams that exhibit one clearly without the capacity for the other; also, in some dreams where the dreamer is lucid and aware they could exercise control, they choose simply to observe.
It has been suggested that those who suffer from nightmares could benefit from the ability to be aware they are indeed dreaming. A pilot study performed in showed that lucid dreaming therapy treatment was successful in reducing nightmare frequency. This treatment consisted of exposure to the idea, mastery of the technique, and lucidity exercises. It was not clear what aspects of the treatment were responsible for the success of overcoming nightmares, though the treatment as a whole was said to be successful.
Australian psychologist Milan Colic has explored the application of principles from narrative therapy to clients' lucid dreams, to reduce the impact not only of nightmares during sleep but also depression, self-mutilation, and other problems in waking life. Colic found that therapeutic conversations could reduce the distressing content of dreams, while understandings about life—and even characters—from lucid dreams could be applied to their lives with marked therapeutic benefits.
Psychotherapists have applied lucid dreaming as a part of therapy. Studies have shown that, by inducing a lucid dream, recurrent nightmares can be alleviated. It is unclear whether this alleviation is due to lucidity or the ability to alter the dream itself.
A study performed by Victor Spoormaker and Van den Bout evaluated the validity of lucid dreaming treatment LDT in chronic nightmare sufferers. Results of lucid dreaming treatment revealed that the nightmare frequency of the treatment groups had decreased. In another study, Spoormaker, Van den Bout, and Meijer investigated lucid dreaming treatment for nightmares by testing eight subjects who received a one-hour individual session, which consisted of lucid dreaming exercises. This was purposefully taught in order to change the course of their nightmares.
The subjects then reported the diminishment of their nightmare prevalence from 2—3 times a week to 2—3 times per month. In her book The Committee of Sleep , Deirdre Barrett describes how some experienced lucid dreamers have learned to remember specific practical goals such as artists looking for inspiration seeking a show of their own work once they become lucid or computer programmers looking for a screen with their desired code. However, most of these dreamers had many experiences of failing to recall waking objectives before gaining this level of control.
Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge and Howard Rheingold discusses creativity within dreams and lucid dreams, including testimonials from a number of people who claim they have used the practice of lucid dreaming to help them solve a number of creative issues, from an aspiring parent thinking of potential baby names to a surgeon practicing surgical techniques.
The authors discuss how creativity in dreams could stem from "conscious access to the contents of our unconscious minds"; access to "tacit knowledge" - the things we know but can't explain, or things we know but are unaware that we know.
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Though lucid dreaming can be beneficial to a number of aspects of life, some risks have been suggested. Those who have never had a lucid dream may not understand what is happening when they experience it for the first time. Individuals who experience lucid dreams could begin to feel isolated from others due to feeling different. It could become more difficult over time to wake up from a lucid dream.
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Someone struggling with certain mental illnesses could find it hard to be able to tell the difference between reality and the actual dream. Long term risks with lucid dreaming have not been extensively studied. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Lucid Dream disambiguation. Consciousness and Cognition. Princeton University Press. Retrieved 29 April The term "lucid dreaming" to describe the technique of controlling dreams and following them to a desired conclusion was coined by the 19th-century Dutch psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden.
Gale Research Co. Van Eeden was an author and physician who sat with the English medium Mrs. Thompson and was also Retrieved Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research.
The lucid dream, a term coined by van Eeden himself, had already been noted by Aristotle who wrote that 'often when Galien de Pergame. Les Belles Lettres, Dream Studies Portal. Retrieved Mar 12, Augustine of Hippo".
The Diary of Samuel Pepys.
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