Video Gamers Are Better Lucid Dreamers?

Alan Wake

The first study suggested that people who frequently played video games were more likely to report lucid dreams, observer dreams where they viewed themselves from outside their bodies, and dream control that allowed people to actively influence or change their dream worlds – qualities suggestive of watching or controlling the action of a video-game character.

A second study tried to narrow down the uncertainties by examining dreams that participants experienced from the night before, and focused more on gamers. It found that lucid dreams were common, but that the gamers never had dream control over anything beyond their dream selves.

Live Science: Video Gamers Can Control Dreams, Study Suggests

(via Theoretick)

Sleep Paralysis Visions: Demons, Succubi, and the Archetypal Mind


Reality Sandwich is running an excerpt from Ryan Hurd‘s new e-book on sleep paralysis Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer’s Guide (disclosure: that’s an affiliate link, but I haven’t read this book, only the excerpt):

Psychologist Jorge Conesa-Sevilla has put forward an ecopsychological hypothesis about SP/HH. Ecopsychology is the study of the mind in association with the natural environment. Conesa-Sevilla suggests the uncanny state of mind may be triggered by geological anomalies, and points out that cultures living in the “Ring of Fire,” the geomagnetically unstable areas of Central America, the Pacific Coast of the US, Southern Alaska, Hawaii, and Indonesia, have a much more developed vocabulary for sleep paralysis and its accompanying hallucinations than anywhere else in the world. [12] Many of the indigenous peoples of these territories are dreaming cultures that pay attention to, and actively invite, the “dreaming arts” such as lucid dreaming, reverie and trance states. [13] Given that geomagnetic effects have been shown to alter consciousness, Conesa-Sevilla’s hypothesis is not so unlikely. Similarly, archaeologist Paul Devereux has noted that SP is one state of consciousness among many that “transgress” the normal boundaries of mental imagery (without straying into psychosis), and may be responsible for some mental events interpreted as hauntings. [14] In both of these theories, then, the Stranger can be seen as emerging from local environmental conditions, as well as from the dreamer’s own mind and cultural upbringing.

Reality Sandwich: Sleep Paralysis Visions: Demons, Succubi, and the Archetypal Mind

(via Plutonica)

I’ve experienced sleep paralysis twice in my life. I was familiar with the phenomena of sleep paralysis and both of my experiences had heavy “occult” undertones since that was what I was into at the time. They were still scary, but not in the way that they would have been if I hadn’t been aware of sleep paralysis and didn’t have a positive framework for encounters with strange entities in mind when it happened.

I haven’t had an experience like this in many years.

Naps boost memory, but only if you dream


Sleep has long been known to improve performance on memory tests. Now, a new study suggests that an afternoon power nap may boost your ability to process and store information tenfold — but only if you dream while you’re asleep.

“When you dream, your brain is trying to look at connections that you might not think of or notice when [you’re] awake,” says the lead author of the study, Robert Stickgold, the director of the Center for Sleep and Cognition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, Massachusetts. “In the dream…the brain tries to figure out what’s important and what it should keep or dump because it’s of no value.” […]

“If you’re not good at something, and you dream about it, you seem to get better at it — especially if the information can be used in different situations,” says Michael Breus, the clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health, in Glendale, Arizona, who was not involved in the study.

CNN: Naps boost memory, but only if you dream

(Thanks Bill!)

See also: The Tetris Effect

A new theory of the function of dreams

Allan Hobson

(Above: Allan Hobson)

In [Allan Hobson]’s most recent review paper in Nature reviews Neuroscience , he compares the dream state to that of proto consciousness. As per him, proto consciousness is made up of raw emotions and perceptions while secondary consciousness is made up of awareness about perceptions and emotions and meta cognitive processes. He now endows dreams/REM state with some functional significance. He believes that dreams provide and opportunity for inbuilt genetic scripts and schema to be played out and fine tuned against external real-world scenarios. In this view dreams would still be significant as they provide a window to out internal scripts that are present from birth. He doesn’t put this across in so many words and this is my interpretation, but that is what I could sort of intuit.

The Mouse Trap: Dreaming as delirium, protoconsciousness or epiphenomenon?

New book from Bill Whitcomb and Michael Skrtic: Selections from the Dream Manual

Selections from the Dream Manual

Bill Whitcomb and Michael Skrtic’s new book, Selections from the Dream Manual, with an introduction by Antero Alli, is available for pre-order from Immanion Press.

Immanion Press: Selections from the Dream Manual

You can preview more of the artwork here.

Exploding Head Syndrome

scanners head explode

As strange as the name sounds, exploding head syndrome is actually a rare and relatively undocumented sleep phenomenon. While sleeping or dozing, a person with the condition hears a terrifically loud sound in their head, such as a bomb exploding, a clash of cymbals or a gun going off.

“It’s usually described as a loud bang or pop that occurs in the first third of the night,” says Dr. Neil Kline, sleep physician and representative of the American Sleep Association in Wilmington, Del. “It’s a sensory phenomenon. The individual senses that some type of explosion has occurred nearby, but ultimately realizes it’s in their head. It’s not associated with pain or with any disorder that we know of and there are no physiological medical consequences that are associated with it.”

Read More: MSNBC: Loud crash at 3 a.m.? It may be your exploding head

(via William Gibson)

See also:

Wikipedia entry on Exploding Head Syndrome

Sleep paralysis

Is dreaming preperation for consciousness?

In a paper published last month in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Dr. J. Allan Hobson, a psychiatrist and longtime sleep researcher at Harvard, argues that the main function of rapid-eye-movement sleep, or REM, when most dreaming occurs, is physiological. The brain is warming its circuits, anticipating the sights and sounds and emotions of waking.

“It helps explain a lot of things, like why people forget so many dreams,” Dr. Hobson said in an interview. “It’s like jogging; the body doesn’t remember every step, but it knows it has exercised. It has been tuned up. It’s the same idea here: dreams are tuning the mind for conscious awareness.”

Drawing on work of his own and others, Dr. Hobson argues that dreaming is a parallel state of consciousness that is continually running but normally suppressed during waking. The idea is a prominent example of how neuroscience is altering assumptions about everyday (or every-night) brain functions.

New York Times: A Dream Interpretation: Tuneups for the Brain

(Thanks Bill)

Scientists create device that can project images from dreams

Can this possibly be true?

A team of Japanese scientists have created a device that enables the processing and imaging of thoughts and dreams as experienced in the brain to appear on a computer screen.

While researchers have so far only created technology that can reproduce simple images from the brain, the discovery paves the way for the ability to unlock people’s dreams and other brain processes.

A spokesman at ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories said: “It was the first time in the world that it was possible to visualise what people see directly from the brain activity.

Full Story: the Telegraph

Reminds me of the movie Until the End of the World

(thanks Bill)

Lucid Nightmares & Frightening Near Death Experiences

“Today I want to talk about lucid nightmares using the metaphor of frightening Near Death Experiences (fNDEs). Both of these states of consciousness are under-reported, most likely due to the taboos I explored in Part I of this series.

In general, Near Death Experiences have been compared to lucid dreams for decades. In both of these ‘altered states,’ the dreamer/visionary undergoes a conscious journey into unknown territory. The journeyer often sees white light, goes through a tunnel or vortex, and meets with ancestors or recently deceased family members. Seeing images of the divine, and having conversations with unseen ‘entities’ is also a strong pattern in both NDEs and lucid dreams.

REM Intrusion or Otherworldly Journey?

The difference, of course, is that NDEs occur after a serious brush with death. And, also, lucid dreamers interpret this class of experience as ‘a dream’ while people who have a NDE interpret their experience as ‘real.’ Interestingly, some neurologists have suggested that NDEs may be due to REM intrusion into waking consciousness. In my mind, this neurological perspective does not reduce a NDE to a biomechanical glitch.

Instead, this material layer complements the imaginal experiences. NDEs are psychologically real, and have been shown in many studies to change people’s views of reality and positively mark their lives forever, REM intrusion or not. But not everyone has a good time in their NDE. The white light, the life review, feelings of love and acceptance…. these are the most common reports, but others have decidedly frightening NDEs. Bruce Greyson and Nancy Evans Bush first collected anecdotes and established a typology back in the 1980s.”

(via The Dream Studies Portal. See also: the entire series of posts on “Lucid Nightmares”)

Susan Blackmore on lucid dreaming

Lucid dreams used to be a topic within psychical research and parapsychology. Perhaps their incomprehensibility made them good candidates for being thought paranormal. More recently, however, they have begun to appear in psychology journals and have dropped out of parapsychology-a good example of how the field of parapsychology shrinks when any of its subject matter is actually explained.

Lucidity has also become something of a New Age fad. There are machines and gadgets you can buy and special clubs you can join to learn how to induce lucid dreams. But this commercialization should not let us lose sight of the very real fascination of lucid dreaming. It forces us to ask questions about the nature of consciousness, deliberate control over our actions, and the nature of imaginary worlds.

Full Story: Susan Blackmore

(via Bruce Eisner)

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