Scientist Communicate with Lucid Dreamers

A summary of the experiments. (Konkoly et al., Current Biology 2021)

An international collaboration of scientists with research teams in Germany, the Netherlands, France, and the United States set out to record and communicate with people experiencing lucid dreams. Each team used different methods to communicate with the participants

The German team used a method called Wake-Back-To-Bed. Participants were experienced lucid dreamers who would stay overnight in the laboratory and wake up early in the morning to try to produce lucid REM sleep.

The team in France invited narcoleptic people to participate in the experiment. They had the participants take daytime naps and recorded the results.

Both teams from the Netherlands and the United States used participants who were not experienced in lucid dreaming. Their teams attempted to trigger lucid REM sleep by audio and visual sensory cues to alert the participant they were dreaming.

All teams recorded lucid sleeping using the eye signal method, where the participant’s eyes would move left to right very quickly. Once it was confirmed the participants were in lucid sleep the teams asked participants math questions and/or yes/no questions using softly spoken words or beeps to indicate Morse Code.

The German team simulated morse code with green and red LED lights once lucid REM sleep was confirmed. They asked the questions “4-0” and received the answer “4” from the participant using left-right eye signals. The participant reports that they were in a doctor’s office on a couch when the lights flickered. They regonzice the flickering as Morse code and responded with left right eye signals. They stated that they noticed other things were flashing, like a bowl of water, but could not decode the Morse code because the object broke.

The team from the Netherlands induced lucid dreams with auditory and visual signals. Once lucid dreaming began the team asked the participant the question “1+2”.  The participant asked “3” with eye movement. The participant reports that they were in a car and could hear the team through what he believed was the car radio.

After the participant was instructed to answer “Yes” with a smile and “No” with a frown, the narcoleptic patient fell asleep. Five questions were asked, two were answered correctly. The participant said that they were at a party and they heard the team’s voice as if they were god or the narrator of a movie. They tried to answer the questions they best they could but got confused on more vague questions like “Can you speak Spanish?” (The dreamer could speak some phrases but they claim they are not fluent)

The team from the United States asked simple math questions and received the correct answer from the participants via left-right eye signals. The participant reported that they were in a video game when they realized they were dreaming and then they remember being asked three questions. They do not remember what all the questions were but he remembered that the answers for all three questions were “2” and the last question was “8-6”.

Works Cited

Carr, Michelle. “Scientists Can Communicate With Lucid Dreamers While They Sleep.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 18 Feb. 2021, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/dream-factory/202102/scientists-can-communicate-lucid-dreamers-while-they-sleep

Nield, David. “Scientists Found a Way to Communicate With People Who Are Asleep And Dreaming.” ScienceAlert, www.sciencealert.com/people-can-answer-questions-and-even-do-math-problems-when-asleep-study-shows