Lucidity Letter - November 1983 - Vol. 2, No. 4

Lucidity Letter

1.   Auditory Biofeedback as a Lucidity Induction Technique - 69

       Robert Price and David Cohen

2.   Cognitive Abilities of Dream Figures in Lucid Dreams - 71

       Paul Tholey

3.   Psychophysiological Parallelism In Lucid Dreams - 71

       Stephen LaBerge

4.   The Relationship of the Lucid Dreaming Ability to Mental Imagery Experiences and Skills - 72

       Jayne Gackenbach, Sandra Prill, and Pamela Westron

5.   Meditation and Lucid Dreams - 74

       B. McLeod and H. Hunt

6.   An Exploration Into the Inductability of Greater Reflectiveness and “Lucidity” in Nocturnal Dream Reports - 75

       Gregory Scott Sparrow

7.   Memory and Reason In Lucid Dreams: A Personal Observation - 76

       George Gillespie

8.  News and Notes Vol. 2, No. 4 - 77


Auditory Biofeedback as a Lucidity Induction Technique


Robert Price and David Cohen

University of Texas at Austin


In January of 1982 we initiated an investigation of the effect of auditory biofeedback during REM sleep on the dream content of a single subject. At that time we could not have foreseen that our procedure would uncover a potentially valuable lucidity induction technique.

Our original paradigm was based on the demonstrated ability of subjects to make instrumental responses during REM sleep (Oswald, Taylor, & Treisman, 1960; Salamy, 1971). In a recent pilot study at the U.T. Austin sleep lab, Webberman (1981) had demonstrated that sleeping subjects could attend to and by varying their eye movement frequency, control the intensity of tones presented during REM sleep. In that study subjects were instructed and trained to sleep in the following biofeedback procedure. A 1000 Hz tone was introduced which gradually increased in volume until the subject produced a rapid eye movement which automatically terminated the tone. The procedure was later initiated and continued throughout the subject’s REM sleep. In an opposite contingency used on alternate nights, the subject’s eye movements resulted in an increase in the tone while cessation of eye movements terminated it. Webberman’s results suggested that a subject could successfully avoid the tone by either increasing or decreasing rapid eye movements without arousal from REM sleep.

In the present study this technique was adopted to examine the effect of eye movement frequency versus attention per se on dream content. For example, would an increase in rate of eye movements yield more dream activity compared to a decrease in eye movements? Would the subject’s attention involved in controlling the tone result in decreased imagery vividness? At that time we did not anticipate that the subject’s involvement with the biofeedback process would result in lucid experiences.

The study focused on a single subject to obtain an extended and reliable measure of any observed effects. That subject slept in the lab once a week for a total of 28 nights. To our surprise the subject reported experiencing lucidity during a REM period on the 5th and 13th nights. During the 16th night the subject produced several rapid and saccades that were easily distinguishable from those he normally produced. Upon awakening from this REM period the subject reported both the experience of lucidity and conscious attempts to control the tone with rapid eye movement bursts. He also reported hoping that these eye movements would prompt the experimenter to awaken him, which he felt unable to do on his own. The spontaneous use of eye movements as an attempt to communicate with the experimenter was startling because neither lucidity nor its communication had ever been discussed. Nor was the subject familiar with the signaling technique pioneered by Hearne (1978) and LaBerge et al (1981). Following these episodes of spontaneous signaling we adopted eye movement signaling of lucid experience as a research goal.

There was a dramatic increase in lucidity over the course of the study. From the 16th through the 28th nights the subject experienced and signaled lucidity at least once a night. In all but two of those REM periods the subject’s report of lucidity was accompanied by clearly distinguishable eye signals. In one of those instances the subject reported attempting to signal by clicking his teeth, but that attempt could not be discerned on the EMG record. After the twenty-second night the subject had become so proficient at lucid dreaming that he felt the tone had become an unnecessary annoyance. The tone was therefore eliminated during the remainder of the study.

The accompanying figure illustrates the distribution of lucid dreaming. The vertical axis of the figure indicates the percentage of total dream “scenes” during, which the subject experienced lucidity. We broke each REM report down into individual “scenes” which were defined by the location of the dreamed events. Each change in dream location delineated a change in scene. This method of defining the scene as the basic unit of analysis is in keeping with our view that REM mentation is often composed of several dream scenes whose relatedness is an empirical question (Cohen, 1981). Because lucidity is often not maintained throughout a REM period, scoring by scene yields a relatively conservative estimate of lucidity. If a subject became lucid in only one scene among four five-scene REM periods, our method would yield a .05 lucidity frequency rating as compared to a .25 rating obtained by a more conventional all-or-none method.

Several different hypotheses may be advanced to account for the dramatic rise in this subject’s lucid dream frequency. First, the tone itself may have served as an external cue for the subject, “reminding’ him 4 that he was sleeping (much like Hearne’s “Dream Machine”). In addition the tone may have stimulated lucid awareness by partially arousing the subject (as evidenced by increased alpha activity). However, the great majority of lucid REM periods and eye movement signals were not accompanied by a substantial increase in. alpha activity. Alternatively, the biofeedback-induced involvement of the subject with his environment may have contributed to or been primarily responsible for his rapid gains in lucid-ability.

This study differed from most others in that the attainment of lucidity was not an initial goal communicated to the subject. Therefore, the initial periods of signaled lucidity occurred without the influence of experimenter demand, and subject motivated effects. Also, the subject had rarely experienced periods of dream lucidity in his past, unlike other studies utilizing frequent lucid dreamers.

Obviously, the results of this study can be seen as providing only tentative support for the use of the biofeedback procedure as an induction tool. Currently we are attempting to replicate our findings with several previously non-lucid subjects. Lucidity will be made an explicit goal to determine whether motivation can facilitate rapid induction. We are also utilizing several experimental conditions including one in which the subject has no control over the tone volume. By using this design we hope to determine whether the biofeedback procedure is a crucial part of the training process, or whether the auditory stimulation alone would be equally effective. Those results, along with several other recent findings, will be reported here in the near future.



Cohen, D.B. Functional significance and heterogeneity of REM dreaming. Presented at the APSS Annual Meeting, Hyannis, Mass.; June, 1981.

Hearne, K. Lucid dreams: An exploratory study of consciousness during_sleep.

Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Liverpool, 1978.

LaBerge, S., Nagel, L., Dement, W. & Zarcone, V. Lucid dreaming verified by

volitional communication during REM sleep. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1981, 52,727—737.

Oswald, I., Taylor, A. & Treisman, M. Discriminative responses to stimulation during human sleep. Brain, 1960, 83, 440—453.

Salamy,J. Effects of REM deprivation and awakening on instrumental performance during Stage 2and REM sleep. Biological Psychiatry, 1971, 3321—330.

Webberman, J. Instrumental responsibility to auditory stimuli during REM sleep.

Unpublished study conducted at University of Texas, Austin, Psychology Dept., 1981.



Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 2, No. 4, November, 1983, page 69.


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Cognitive Abilities of Dream Figures in Lucid Dreams


Paul Tholey


Institut fur Psychologie, der Johann Wolfgang Goethe—Universitat


Following an earlier study by the author that examined which cognitive abilities the dreamer (dream ego) disposes of during lucid dreams, it was investigated which abilities other dream figures possess. Nine students, who had learned to induce lucid dreams by using the reflection technique developed by the author, participated as subjects in the experiment. They were directed to set other dream figures various tasks during lucid dreaming. Dream figures were asked to solve simple arithmetic problems, to write down something, to rhyme and to speak in a foreign language. Each subject had at least four lucid dreams concerned with this investigation. The subjects had no knowledge of each others dream reports, nevertheless the reports were similar. Part of the dream figures actually agreed to perform the tasks and proved successful. Their performance was poorest in arithmetic. None of the dream figures could solve problems with two—digit numbers. In the verbal sphere, however, their abilities were in some cases even better than those of the dreamer. It is suggested that cognitive abilities of the dream ego and those of other dream figures during lucid dreams should be viewed in connection with distinct cerebral processes. Experiments relating thereto are planned.


1. Abstract of paper submitted for presentation at a symposium on lucid dreams during the 7th European Sleep Congress, Munich, September, 1984


Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 2, No. 4, November, 1983, page 71.


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Psychophysiological Parallelism in Lucid Dreams


Stephen P. LaBerge

Stanford University


The nature of the relationship between the mental and physical worlds has long intrigued the philosophers among us. This, the so—called “mind—body problem,” is really many problems—or else a single question that takes many forms. Among these is whether and how the subjective (mental) events of the dream and the objective (physical) events occurring in the dreamer’s brain are connected. Happily, the solution to this formerly intractible problem now appears to be within reach due to a recent methodological innovation in dream research, based on the phenomenon of lucid dreaming (i.e., dreaming while knowing that one is dreaming). This new approach is made possible by the fact that lucid dreamers can remember to perform predetermined actions and signal to the laboratory while still in their dreams (1). These specially trained observers (2) are able to mark the exact time of particular dream events while carrying out diverse experimental tasks, thus allowing the methodical testing of hypothese and the precise determination of psychophysiological relationships. Five of our studies, summarized below, illustrate this strategy.

Correspondence between dreamed and actual eye movements. We have found that there is a very high degree of correlation between the direction of gaze shift reported in lucid dreams and polygraphically recorded eye movement. We make routine use of signals in all of our experiments. In addition, we have found evidence suggesting two independent sources of REM activity and dream content (i.e., brainstem and forebrain).

Dream time. How long do dreams last? We were able to address this hoary question in such a way as to receive a direct answer, by simply asking lucid dreamers to estimate various intervals of time while dreaming. Signals marking the beginning and end of the intervals allowed comparison with objective time. In all cases, time estimates during the lucid dreams were very close to actual dream time.

Voluntary controlof respiration during lucid dreaming (3). We recorded three lucid dreamers who were asked to either breathe rapidly or to hold their breath (in their lucid dreams), marking the interval of altered respiration with eye movement signals. They reported successfully carrying out the agreed—upon tasks a total of nine times. In every case, a judge was able to correctly predict on the basis of the recording which of the two patterns were executed (p<.002).

Singing and counting during lucid dreams (4). Integrated alpha activity was derived from right and left temporal EEG while four subjects sang and counted in their lucid dreams. The results indicated task dependent lateralization of alpha activity: the right hemisphere was more activated than the left during singing; during counting, the reverse was true. These shifts were similar to those observed during actual singing and counting.

Physiological responses to lucid dream sex (5). A pilot study with two lucid dreamers (one male and one female) who reported sexual arousal and orgasm in their (separate!) lucid dreams revealed patterns of physiological activity closely resembling those accompanying corresponding experiences in the waking state.

All of these results are in unanimous accord with the conclusion that the events a person experiences while asleep and dreaming produce effects on his brain (and to a lesser extent, body) remarkably similar to those that would be produced if the person were to actually experience the corresponding events while awake. As for the “mind—body” problem posed at the beginning of this paper, the question was how the (psychological) occurrences of the dream are related to physiological events in the dreamer’s brain. In the light of the studies reviewed above, a partial answer can be given by saying that dream events are closely paralled by brain events. If this picture of psycho­physiological parallelism is valid, it could provide an explanation of why dreams seem so real while they last: it is because to our brains, dreaming of doing something is equivalent to actually doing it.




(1)        LaBerge S.P., Nagel L.E., Dement W.C., & Zarcone, V.P. Lucid dreaming verified by volitional communication during REM sleep. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1981, 52, 727-732.

(2)        LaBerge S.P., Lucid dreaming as learnable skill: A case study. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 180, 51, 1039—1042.

(3)        LaBerge S.P. & Dement, W.C. Voluntary control of respiration during lucid REM dreaming. Sleep Research, 1982.

(4)        LaBerge S.P. & Dement, W.C. Lateralization of alpha activity for dreamed singing and counting during REM sleep. Pscyhopysiology, 1982, 19, 331—332.

(5)        LaBerge S.P., Greenleaf W. & Kedzierski B. Physiological responses to dreamed sexual activity during lucid REM sleep Psychophysiology, 1983, in press.


1.         Abstract of a paper submitted to presentation at a symposium on lucid dreams

during the 7th European Sleep Congress Munich, September, 1984.


Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 2, No. 4, November, 1983, page 71.


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The Relationship of the Lucid Dreaming Ability to Mental Imagery

Experiences and Skills


Jayne Gackenbach, Sandra Prill, and

Pamela Westrom

University of Northern Iowa


A review of research pertaining to the relationship of waking imagery abilities and experiences to the lucid dreaming ability will be presented. This work includes both spontaneous waking images such as hypnagogic images, hallucinations and daydreams and experimentally produced waking images, such as mental rotation tasks.

Spontaneous Waking Imagery

Regarding hypnagogic images, Hearne (1983) reports that in a small sample of lucid dreamers, 82% reported experiencing images and 77% reported experiencing sounds while falling asleep. Relatedly, in two student samples, for women only, the frequency of experiencing dream lucidity correlated, positively with the frequency of experiencing hypnagogic (Hearne, 1978) and hypnapompic images (Gackenbach, 1981). There is strong support that lucid dreamers are likely to experience sleep transition (hypnagogic and hypnapompic) images.

Blackmore (1983) reports that experiencing lucid dreams was Positively associated, both quantitatively and qualitatively, with experiencing waking hallucinations while Gackenbach (1981), who controlled for dream recall, found more reports of these types of hallucinations among students who are frequently lucid. However, Hearne (1978) noted no relationship between frequency of dreaming lucidly and frequency of a body—schema hallucination.

The strongest association between lucidity ability and waking hallucinations is with regards to the out—of—body experience (OBE; the experience of while awake perceiving the self as located outside the physical body). In a review of the concordance literature, Irwin (in press) summarizes the expirical relationship between OBEs and lucidity:


Taken as a whole the surveys clearly evidence a statistical dependence

between lucid dreams and OBEs. Eight of ten samples yielded a significant

result and one of the nonsignificant studies claims a significant                 correlation between OBEs and a more  detailed categorization of the                  frequency of lucid dreams. Further all sets of data are in the same          (positive) direction. A meta—analysis of the ten survey results confirms the

level of empirical testimony to the relationship. Using the Stouffer

technique the combined significance level of the cited findings is of the

order of 10 to the —16 power.


Relatedly, OBE experients have been shown to evidence better spatial abilities than nonexperients (Cook & Irwin, 1983).

The final type of spontaneously experienced imagery examined in relation to lucidity is that of daydreams. Frequency of daydreams was positively correlated to frequency of lucid dreams for men only by Hearne (1978) and for both sexes by Gackenbach, et al (1983). No relationship was found between vividness of daydreams and lucidity by Hearne (1978). However, Gackenbach (1981) did find a positive relationship for this daydreaming dimension among men. Finally, in two samples, Gackenbach (1978; 1981) found no relationship between the degree of emotionality and realism of daydreams and frequency of dreaming lucidly. To summarize, the experiences of waking and sleep transition hallucinations are clearly related to the lucidity ability whereas daydreaming experiences are not.

Induced Waking Imagery

The aforementioned analyses are largely based on the relationship between types of act frequencies (dreaming and images) with little attention to their qualitative aspects or to the extent of control over these imagery events. Vividness and control, rather than frequency of occurrence, are the two major dimensions along which mental imagery abilities have been traditionally assessed.

The data are mixed for vividness. On the one hand, Hearne (1975) found no relation to lucidity for three vividness items and Blackmore (1982) reported no differences between lucid and nonlucid dreamers for Bett’s vividness of imagery scale scores. On the other hand, our reseach group found that when dream recall and social desirability were controlled and understanding the concept of lucidity was ensured, males who frequently report dreaming lucidly also report more vivid tactile images as ascertained by the tactile images subscale of the Bett’s inventory. Relatedly, Hearne (1983) found that the majority of his lucid dreamers sample reported moderate to clear vividness for visual and auditory imagery tasks while a significant positive relationship for a visualization task when subjects were asked to perform the task from a familiar angle was noted by Blackmore (1983).

Regarding control, neither Hearne (1978; 1983), Blackmore (1982), nor our research group found any relationship between self—reports of imagery control and lucidity ability. Blackmore (1982) and our group administered Gordon’s control of imagery questionnaire while Hearne asked several imagery questions which were obviously related to control. However, when a more accurate assessment of control of imagery abilities is utilized, such as, performance on mental rotation tasks, a different picture emerges. Several tasks have been developed which require the subject to mentally rotate a two or three dimensional object in order to correctly identify its mate. Our research group found no relationship between performance on a simple two—dimensional task and lucidity frequency in two samples (student and adult) where dream recall was controlled. However, in a more difficult two— dimensional mental rotation task for adult women, when dream recall and handedness were controlled, the frequency of experiencing prelucid dreams was significantly positively correlated with performance. In the same study, our group determined that skill on a three—dimensional mental rotation task was positively related to lucid dreaming frequency for women.

In none of the aforementioned tasks was a relationship found for men except in Gackenbach et al (1983). In this study our group found that when dream recall, education and sex—role identity (i.e., relative masculinity and femininity) are controlled a lack of the ability to mentally rotate a difficult two—dimensional image was significantly correlated with the frequency of having lucid dreams.

In conclusion, the frequency of experiencing dream lucidity is clearly related to the frequency of two spontaneous waking imagery phenomenon; sleep transition and waking hallucinations. The vividness and control of waking images is not as clearly related to lucidity frequency. However, when imagery control is assessed by performance on a mental rotation task a clear positive relationship appears for women.



Blackmore, S.J. Imagery skills and lucid dreaming ability. Lucidity Letter, 1982, 1(2), 5.

Blackmore, S.J. A survey of lucid dreams, OBE’s, and related experiences. Lucidity Letter, 1983, 2(3), 1.

Cook, A.M. & Irwin, H.J. Visuospatial skills and the out—of—body experience. Journal of Parapsychology, 1983, 47, 23—35.

Gackenbach, J.I. A Personality and cognitive style analysis of lucid dreaming. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1978.

Gackenback, J.I. Unpublished data, 1981.

Gackenbach, .J.I., Curren, R.. LaBerge, S., Davidson, D., & Maxwell, P. Intelligence, creativity, and personality differences between individuals who vary in self—reported lucid dreaming frequency. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Mental Imagery, Vancouver, June, 1983.

Hearne, K.M.T. Lucid dreams: An electrophysiological and psychological study. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Liverpool, 1978.

Hearne, K.M.T. Features of lucid dreams: Questionnaire data and content analyses (1). Journal of Lucid Dream Research, 1983, 1(1), 3—20.

Irwin, H.J. Out-of—the—body experiences and dream lucidity: Two views: Part I: Empirical perspectives. In J.I. Gackenbach and S. LaBerge (Eds.), Lucid dreaming: Research on consciousness during sleep, N.Y.: Plenum, in press.


  1.       Abstract of a paper submitted for presentation at a symposium on lucid dreams during the 7th European Sleep Congress, Munich, September, 1984


Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 2, No. 4, November, 1983, page 72.


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Meditation and Lucid Dreams


B. McLeod and H. Hunt

Brock University


Eighteen regular meditators in various meditative traditions completed a 30—day: dream diary and gave information regarding previous dream experience and meditative practice. They rated each dream as lucid, partially lucid, control or none of these, and for each dream indicated whether they had actually heard voices, heard other sounds or felt bodily movement.

Dreams were analyzed for perceptual, emotional and cognitive anomalies and, from this analysis, dream profiles were established which were compared to various dream profiles of non—mediators. Correlations and a factor analysis were performed to find relationships between measures of meditation in years, daily meditation during the study, dream anomalies from the analysis, dream recall and other dream experience as indicated in the questionnaires. Lucid and control dream experience in this group was compared to the dream experience of a group of non—mediators but good dream recallers.

The length of time spent in daily meditation correlated significantly with four measures of sensory detail, one taken from an analysis of the dreams themselves, and the other three taken from the questions asked after each dream about hearing voices, hearing other sounds and being aware of bodily movement. In other words, the longer the time spent in daily meditation the more visual, auditory and somatic vividness was reported in dreams.

The length of time in years of regular meditation correlated with the lucidity of the dreamer in this dream sample and also with his estimates of lucid dreams and control dreams over the preceding year. Lucidity did not correlate with whether dreamer had attempted to become lucid in his dreams. Lucidity and control (which was highly related to lucidity in this study) seem to be general effects of years of regular meditation regardless of whether the dreamer tried to become lucid or to control his dreams.

A third factor seemed to indicate that for some meditators the longer they spent meditating per day the less meaningful their dreamswere and the less they recalled them. This may relate to an effect that many meditators mentioned in their comments. After they began meditating their dreams were calmer and less dramatic, conflicted and anxious. This may perhaps make dreams for some less meaningful and less memorable.

The dreams of meditators as a whole showed more examples of perceptual bizarreness and more mythic content than a sample dreams of non-meditators. Unexpectedly they also showed more clouding in thought and memory.

Meditation in years and lucidity and control all correlated as well with examples of the most extreme kinds of perceptual bizarreness, visual and somatic form changes. These are qualitative form changes similar to those which sometimes occur in altered states induced by drugs. Visual form changes would include objects or forms with geometrical patterns, objects taking on a crystalline appearance, altering in perspective, becoming very large or very small, multiplying, glowing, or objects and scenes which are condensed or superimposed. Somatic form changes related to such changes touched or sensed in the dreamer’s body. These include sensations of flying.

The number of lucid dreams in the meditators was not significantly higher than in a group of good dream recallers. The meditators, however, did have a significantly higher number of control dreams, while the dream recallers had significantly more parital lucid dreams.

The connection found between meditation and lucidity supports the idea that lucidity in a dream is the sleeping equivalent of the meditative state in waking life, a theory held by some psychologists and supported by the meditative traditions. Just as the lucid dreamer knows that he has in some way created the dream world he experiences — it is his dream — so the successful meditator, at least in the Buddhist tradition, does not see himself and his environment as separate, but as “two poles of a constant and ongoing dialogue”. The above quotation is from Reginald A. Ray in his introduction to Karma Thinley’s The History of the Sixteen Karmapas of Tibet. He continues: “from the Tibetan view point, reality presents itself as an, accurate, apt and timely mirror, and as a challenge, encouragement and critic. One has the opportunity to learn about one’s blindness and rigidity from everything that happens.” It follows that “we are entirely responsible for our world. Everything that arises in our world has to do with us, and we must assume responsibility for it.”


1. Abstract of a paper submitted for presentation at a symposium on lucid dreams during the annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Baltimore, April, 1984.


Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 2, No. 4, November, 1983, page 74.


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An Exploration into the Inducibility of Greater Reflectiveness and ‘Lucidity”in Nocturnal Dream Reports


Gregory Scott Sparrow

The College of William and Mary


The purpose of this study was to determine the availability of “lucid dreaming” to a sample comprised of individuals with a wide variety of previous dream work experience. Defined as the experience of becoming aware that one is dreaming during the dream itself, lucid dreaming has been regarded as a potentially therapeutic experience which if inducible in counseling clients and self— directed dream students, could serve as a valuable therapeutic and growth tool.

A sample of 161 voluntary subjects was obtained from the membership of the Association for Research and Enlightenment, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The A.R.E. is an open—membership parapsychological research and educational association. The population was chosen because of their interest in dream work and human potential --qualities that would arguably characterize a counseling client who would be ready for such in—depth dream work. Of the original subjects, 136 completed the study.

Two induction strategies were tested. The first strategy -- called Dream Reliving -- consisted of recalling and reliving in fantasy a past unpleasant dream experience. The subject then wrote down the new “dream,” and used it as a pre—sleep reverie for the duration of the induction period. The other strategy -- called Motivational Essay -- consisted of writing an essay titled, “Why I Want to Have Lucid Dreams.” A delayed— treatment control group was also employed. Pre—and post— data collection was included in the design.

The resultant dreams were rated on an original four—point scale to assess the level of lucidity, and an original scale designed to assess aspects of the constructive dreamer process, as defined by Rossi. The four aspects of dreamer process were: dreamer/dream content interaction, role changes, and constructive behavior, and critical self— reflectiveness.

Regardless of which induction strategy was used, full lucid dreams were reported by 22% of the subjects during their induction phase; and some degree of lucidity or pre—lucidity was reported by 112% of the subjects.

As for within—group changes over baseline measures, the dream reliving subjects achieved significant increases in their lucidity scores and non—significant increases in constructive dreamer process. In contrast, the motivational essay subjects achieved non­significant increases on the lucidity measures, and remained unchanged on the measures of dreamer process, the control subjects exhibited decreases in their scores during the second week of baseline collection, possibly indicating a fatigue or frustration affect.

When the individual treatments and control conditions were compared in a between—groups analysis, the dream reliving and motivational essay groups significantly outperformed the control group on lucidity scores, the dream reliving group also achieved significantly higher levels of constructive dreamer process, indicating the superiority of the dream reliving technique as a strategy for inducing “dreamer development” as described by Rossi.

As for sex differences, females achieved significantly higher levels of constructive dreamer process during the induction phase. However, there were no sex differences evident in the lucidity measures.


1. Abstract of a paper based on dissertation study submitted for presentation at a symposium on lucid dreams during the annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Baltimore, April, 1984.


Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 2, No. 4, November, 1983, page 75.



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Memory and Reason in Lucid Dreams: A Personal Observation


George Gillespie

University of Pennsylvania


There is a need to pursue the question of whether the lucid dreamer has the same ability to reason and the same access to memory that he or she has when awake, which is implied when lucid dreaming is spoken of as “waking consciousness occurring during the dream.” Tart (Altered States of Consciousness, 1969, p. 116) observed that Frederik van Eeden “possessed all of his normal intellectual faculties” when dreaming lucidly. Tart again (“From Spontaneous Event to Lucidity: A Review of Attempts to Consciously Control Nocturnal Dreaming”, in Handbook of Dreams: Research. Theories and Applications, edited by B.B. Wolman, 1979, p. 255) says that the consciousness of the lucid dreamer has the clarity, the lucidity of his waking state. His consciousness is “practically identical to his waking state. Then Stephen LaBerge in his Psychology Today article on lucid dreams (January, 1981) wrote that the lucid dreamer “can reason clearly, remember freely.”

Since I never have my normal intellectual faculties during lucid dreams, and I never have had the clarity or lucidity of the waking state even at my best moments in what is now 397 lucid dreams, I questioned, in an article in Lucidity Letter (October, 1982), the use of the expression “waking consciousness during the dream”, and the claim that lucid dreamers remember and reason as when awake. Since such claims contradict my experience I felt that they were incorrect. Now I see that somewhat differently. Since such things continue to be said, even by some who have had lucid dreams, it must be correct that some people do have good memories and good reasoning ability while dreaming lucidly.

However, even if some people have “waking consciousness” in lucid dreams, it is questionable that these characteristics should be included in the definition of lucid dreams. Paul Tholey’s article, “Relation between Dream Content and Eye Movements Tested by Lucid Dreams,” appearing in Perceptual and Motor Skills, (1983, 56, 875-878) begins with a definition of lucid dreams that Tholey attributes to Tart (in the “From Spontaneous Event to Lucidity” article): “Lucid dreams are those in which the dreamer is aware that he is dreaming, clearly recalls his waking life, and considers himself to be in full command of his intellectual and motivational abilities” My lucid dreams are excluded by this definition. In lucid dreams I retain the restrictions of my ordinary dream consciousness. I forget most of my daily waking life. I do not know where I am sleeping, or what year it is. I recall little even if I try. Less than half the time can I remember what experiment I had planned to do. Memory is often false. My ability to reason is limited. I cannot plan the future beyond the immediate. I am little aware of my inconsistencies, mistakes and ignorance. I accept dream events uncritically. I am unable to judge (until awake) the results of experiments I do in my lucid dreams. I do somethings that make no sense. I have only enough lucidity to become aware of some inconsistency in the dream or to realize somehow I am dreaming and to proceed according to that knowledge.

Now I see that it is possible, since the claims of memory and reasoning ability are made by so many who study lucid dreams, that this may very well characterize most lucid dreamers, even though it does not characterize me. The truth may be that there is a greater variety among lucid dreamers than is now recognized.

The simplest definition of lucid dreaming that I have found, is one used by Gackenbach. For instance, in “Lucid Dreaming Project” in The A.R.E. Journal (1980) she describes lucid dreams as “awareness of dreaming while in the dream state.” For the “Sleep and Dreaming Questionnaire” that I filled out under her direction, it is said that lucid dreams “are dreams where you are aware that you are dreaming while you are dreaming.” With this kind of restricted definition I am a lucid dreamer, which I do not question anyway. If the questionnaire’s definition had included the specific characteristics of reasoning clearly and remembering freely, I, and I trust others, could not have filled out the questionnaire.

Even though some may reason somewhat well and remember somewhat well while dreaming lucidly, I suspect that such ability may often be overplayed. Even van Eeden, who, it is said, “possessed all of his normal intellectual faculties” does not give the impression that that was strictly so, as we read his account of his dream lucidity (Altered States of Consciousness, pp 152— 157). There are some statements that show less than normal memory and rationality. He says, “it is very difficult...to control emotional impulses.” When he first talked to his brother he did not remember that his brother had died. He said to his brother, “Now we are dreaming, both of us...I had indeed a very strong feeling of certitude that it was really  van’t Hoft with whom I talked...I took myself then for younger than I was.. .I said that I understood him, though after waking up I was utterly puzzled by it and could make nothing of it...I had no idea of my real condition.”


Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 2, No. 4, November, 1983, page 76.


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Information Requested


I am currently working on a chapter for Gackenbach and LaBerge’s forthcoming edited book on lucid dream research. The chapter will describe and evaluate research involving lucidity induction and training. I would certainly welcome any observations or descriptions of induction techniques from anyone involved with lucid dream work.

Bob Price

330 Mezes Ball

University of Texas

Austin, Texas 78712


Lucid Dreaming Bibliography: Updates


Each issue of Lucidity Letter contains references on dream lucidity. The complete bibliography can be obtained upon request.


Compiled by Jayne Gackenbach


Carey, I.Y. Orang Asli: The aboriginal tribes of peninsular Malaysia. American

    Anthrpologist, 1977, 79, 944-945.

Dentan, R.K. The Semai: A nonviolent People of Malaysia. New York: Holt, Rinehart

    and Winston. Second revised and enlarged edition, 1968.

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    sexual activity during lucid REM sleep. Psvchophysiology, in press.


Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 2, No. 4, November, 1983, page 77.


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