Zapping brain can trigger lucid dreams
Scientists from Harvard University have discovered that by sending electric signals through the human brain, they can induce lucid dreams—dreams of which the sleeper is aware and may control to some degree.
Some experts describe lucid dreaming as an overlap between normal dreaming and wakefulness during which the sleeper transfers elements of waking consciousness into his or her dream. Previous studies have shown that lucid dreamers and non-lucid dreamers experience different brain wave patterns; specifically, only lucid dreamers demonstrate gamma wave patterns in the brain’s frontal cortex.
In the new study, researchers aimed to examine the effects of recreated gamma wave brain activity in 27 non-lucid dreamers. Over the course of four nights, the researchers administered electrical currents through electrodes on the participants’ scalps after entering the dreaming stage of sleep. The researchers varied the currents’ frequency to see how they might affect the brain’s gamma activity. After the participants received the electrical stimulation, they were woken up to report their dreams to an anonymous third party.
The results of the study showed that when the participants were zapped with a current of 40 Hertz, 77 percent of the time they reported having lucid dreams. The researchers said that their findings, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, could allow scientists to more easily study how the brain changes in different states of consciousness.