Lucidity Letter - June 1985 - Vol. 4, No. 1

Lucidity Letter

1.  A Comparative Psychology of Lucid Dreams - 117

       Harry J. Hunt

2   Dreaming: Lucid and Non - 118

       David Foulkes

3Reply to Foulkes - 120

       Stephen LaBerge

4.  Single—Mindedness and Self—Reflectiveness: Laboratory Studies - 121

       Alan Moffitt, Sheila Purcell, Robert Hoftmann, Roger Wells,

       and Ross Plgeau

5.  Dream Self—Reflectiveness as a Learned Cognitive Skill - 122

       S. Purcell, J. Mull ington, A. Moffitt, R. Hoffmann and R. Pigeau

6.  Eye Movement Direction and The Lucid Dreaming Ability - 124

       Jayne Gackenbach

7.  Sex Differences in Lucid Dreaming Self—Reported Frequency: A Second Look - 127

       Jayne Gackenbach

8.  Are Lucid Dreams Universal? Two Unequivocal Cases of Lucid Dreaming Among Han Chinese University Students in Beijing, 1985 - 128

       Myrna Walters and Robert K. Dentan

9.  How Valid is Auditory Biofeedback as a Lucidity Induction Technique - 130

       Andrew Brylowski

10. Experimentation With the Vortex Phenomenon in Lucid Dreams - 131

       Kenneth Moss

11. “With The Eyes of the Mind: An Empirical Analysis of Out-of-Body States – Glen O. Gabbard and Stuart W. Twenlow” - 133

        Reviewed by Susan Blackmore

12. News and Notes Vol. 4, No. 1 - 134 




Harry T. Hunt

Brook University


A problem with much of the literature on lucid dreaming has been its theoretical and empirical insularity-a lucid dream, apparently, is a lucid dream, is a lucid dream. Certainly there are important correlations with incidence of out-of-body experience, hypnagogic reports, and waking visual-spatial abilities (Gackenbach et al., 1983), but there seems to have been little effort so far to place lucid dreaming with its “kin and kindred” and thence to draw conclusions concerning the basic cognitive processes involved-to place lucidity in relation to a general cognitive psychology (and vice versa).



Lucid dreams need to be considered with out-of-body experience and insight or mindfulness meditation. All three settings involve the appearance and gradual stabilization of a capacity for an inclusive, observational attitude (broadened sense of perspective) in the midst of ongoing involvements. (Whether these are real or dreamt is less important than the unusual integration of observation and participation itself.) Lucidity and OBE are the more or less spontaneous appearance of that attitude sought within the meditative traditions-with the same sense of release, clarity, and “I am” realization. Their relation is more than correlational, it is one of essential identity of cognitive process across different settings. (See Chang [1963] for the identification of lucidity as the form of meditation available in dreams for Tibetan Buddhism.)


It is hard to see how we could approach these phenomena in cognitive terms other than as a specially developed form of the “reflexivity” or “taking the role of the other” that Mead (1934) makes criterial, to the human symbolic capacity. This is most clear with respect to the structure of OBE, where visual imaginative schemata are reorganized so as to constitute an “image” of how one would look from a “decentered” physical perspective. However, something further must distinguish the lucidity attitude from more typical manifestations of abstract symbolism.


First, we can make a distinction between reflexivity subordinated to active, pragmatic intelligence (what Mead had in mind) and reflexivity for its own sake (contemplative, observational). Although language, mathematics, and painting are necessarily based on an ongoing self-referential sensitivity (a causally transforming monitoring of the “message” in terms of how it might be received by the “other”). There will also be a necessary, but typically subordinated phase in which passive, detached observation predominates. The lucid/meditative attitude is in the first instance an exaggerated form of such reflexivity for its own sake-a receptivity completely emancipated from the attitude of pragmatic “doing.” Second, we can make a distinction (also neglected within “cognitive science”) between symbolic activity that is predominantly representational or predominantly presentational. In everyday representational language the connection between vehicle and referent is more or less arbitrary (making some allowance for the importance of expressive physiognomy). Whereas in the presentational forms of the arts, the meaning is inherent in its manner and mode of expression-to the point where its “evoked” significance may resist discursive formulation.


Accordingly we can see that the lucid/meditative attitude is an imaginative “taking the role of the other” 1) for its own sake, independent of pragmatic usage, 2) in immediately felt, presentational form. Applying this perspective to dream psychology, lucidity shows the preponderance of a broadened perspective in presentational form, while dream bizarreness (traditional indicators of dream symbolism) constitutes a visual—presentational expression of the active, sending role. Indeed, evidence comparing the dreams of meditators with those of more typical lucid dreamers suggests that in the development of presentational dream symbolism, these two attitudes-reflexivity per se or subordinated to more specific meanings-alternate like a conversation between two partners, as a developing spiral between “listening” and “speaking.” Initial levels of dream lucidity seem to compete with dream bizarreness and vice versa, but with progressive stabilization of the lucid attitude, dream bizarreness appears on a level rarely seen in more normative non-lucid dream samples.


Holistic-organismic cognitive psychology--as articulated by G. H. Mead and Werner and Kaplan (1963)--offers the major conceptual key to lucid dreaming--allowing us to see it in relation to both normal symbolic cognition and recent developments in the psychology of meditation. I would argue that it is the only available theoretical framework truly relevant to the phenomena.



Chang,G. (1963). Teachings of Tibetan Yoga. New York: University Books.

Gackenbach, .J., Prill, S., & Westrom, P. (1983) The relationship of the lucid dreaming ability to mental

      imagery experiences and skills. Lucidity letter, 2(4), 4-6.

Hunt, H. T. (1982). Forms of dreaming. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 54, 559-633.

Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, self, society. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

Werner, H., & Kaplan, B. (1963). Symbol formation. New York: Wiley.


Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, June, 1985, page 117.


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Comments on LaBerge, S. (1985). Lucid dreaming. Los Angeles. Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc.


David Foulkes

Georgia Mental Health Institute

Atlanta, Georgia


I restrict my comments to two areas where LaBerge’s remarks have implications for the study of ordinary (nonlucid) dreaming (which must comprise at least 99.44% of human dream experience). The first area is the potential of lucid dream techniques in addressing problems in mainstream dream psychology, and the second is where LaBerge discusses ordinary dreaming R&L


(1) LaBerge indicates that lucid dreamers can solve the deficiencies of prior attempts at correlating sleep physiology and dream psychology: unlike nonlucid dreamers, lucid dreamers can be trained to remember to perform and to signal specified actions during the dream, thus making it possible to corre­late dream events with their physiological accompaniments in a highly precise way. Now, it’s not surprising to me that if someone remembers that she’s supposed to hold her breath and then signals that she has in fact done this, the intervening recording would indicate a respiratory pause. But does this have anything to do with mind—body relationships during ordinary dreaming, which has, on the face of it, a different organization of mental functions than lucid dreaming, and in which people aren’t remem­bering or otherwise trying voluntarily to manipulate their real and/or imagined body state?


One answer might be that what is surprising is that people can remember that they’re supposed to hold their breath, can voluntarily attempt to do so, and can signal their accomplishment to the experimenter while asleep and dreaming. Well, yes and no. Yes, they’re asleep in the sense that LaBerge’s data indicate all this can happen without EEG “signs” of wakefulness and in the surrounding context of dreamlike imagination. But both “sleep” and “dreaming” are defined by sets of convergent indicators, ideally by the convergence of all members of these sets. At least one member in each case is psychological-e.g., to be asleep is to be unaware and unreflective in specifiable ways. If someone gives you “The Power of Being Awake & Aware in Your Dreams” (LaBerge’s subtitle), then it’s by no means clear to me that we’re still talking about sleep and dreaming in the usual way nor that observations from awake-aware sleep and dreaming necessarily generalize to ordinary sleep and dreaming. Put another way, when a major component of any system such as sleep or dreaming is altered, it’s a different system. The kind of dream—content protocols LaBerge uses to illustrate lucid dreaming are sufficiently different from laboratory REM dreams (and from the remembered content of my home dreams) to lead me to believe that lucid dreaming is indeed a different animal than ordinary dreaming (and if it weren’t, why would LaBerge so enthusiastically be urging us to change our style of dreaming?) But he can’t have it both ways; if lucid dreams are different, their immediate general relevance is prob­lematic.


How are they different? Here, it seems to me is where the most interesting implication for ordinary dreaming lie. Theoretically, the issue is this: when you change ordinary dreaming by adding a self which intends and reflects, what else changes along side this change? This is one way of evaluating the role played by the absence of self in ordinary dreaming, and is perhaps the point at which lucid dreaming data could be most relevant to ordinary dream psychology. However, at present, there seem to be no systematic data comparing the REM-monitored lucid vs. nonlucid dreams of the same dreamer. Lucid dream research seems to be repeating the same mistake ordinary dream researchers made a couple of decades ago: namely, it’s doing all kinds of research but the most basic kind: good phenomenological description and comparison. LaBerge himself notes that not all lucid dreamers agree on the nature of lucidity, which further sug­gests the need for standardized data col­lection and evaluation-in the laboratory.


(2) At several points, LaBerge’s account comes to focus on ordinary dreaming. I take exception to the following of his assump­tions about such dreaming.


(a)        Dreaming is more like perceiving or living life than like imagining. This assumption justifies attempts to make dream­ing lucid--if this is what dreaming is, why not be fully aware? Dreaming no doubt sim­ulates waking experience, and far better than waking imagination or mental imagery generally can. Moreover, this simulation is accomplished through recruitment of systems and processes used in perception and real world adaptation. But these facts do not refute the key observation that dreaming is symbolically instigated--that it is imagina­tive hallucination rather than perception. That dreaming is different from perception and life in just this way raises interesting questions for lucid dream advocates. Is it necessarily as adaptive to be self-aware in dreaming’s kind of cognitive reprocessing as it is in waking sensory processing? If so, why is nonlucidity so pervasive during dreaming?


(b)        “Perceptual vividness is probably the main criterion we use to judge how real something is” (p. 89). Thus, waking mental imagery is typically not hallucinatory because it is “pale”, and dreaming is hallucinatory because it’s vivid. On the evidence, and on some of LaBerge’s own arguments, this assumption must be false. Some people can have highly vivid episodic recollections or waking imagination experi­ences without hallucinating, and many people have “pale” and sketchy non-REM imagery which they take to be “real”. And, the distinction between lucid and non-lucid REM imagery is not so much in the quality of its imagery as in the interpretation given the imagery. LaBerge’s (and other’s) suggest­ions for inducing lucidity are techniques for altering not image quality but the quality of the interpretation or compre­ hension supplied to imagery. LaBerge’s “levels” of lucidity are levels of com­prehension, specifically, degrees to which the dreamer has access to her or his full mnemonic repertoire.


(c) REM sleep=dreaming. For LaBerge, if chickens and human infants have REM sleep, they dream, and the function of dreaming is formally identical with the function of REM sleep. It’s surely clear by now that dreaming can and does occur in the adult human in other states than REM sleep. There also are both data and conceptual considerations sug­gesting that dreaming may have cognitive prerequisites making it much less pervasive phylogenetically than is REM sleep. Thus, REM sleep is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition of dreaming. LaBerge’s own account makes it clear that lucid dreaming occurs at sleep onset, and his observations in fact suggest that sleep onset may be a more appropriate reference point than REM sleep for lucid dream phenomena. At sleep onset, as in lucid dreaming, various features of a standard (nonlucid) dream—production system can be altered in interesting ways with instructive consequences. Because altered (or defective) operations of a system often are most revealing of its components and their functions, lucid dreaming has the same potential for elucidating REM dreaming as do extra-REM forms of dreaming. But, lucid dreaming’s value won’t be the sort that LaBerge promises--where observations from lucid dreaming can be generalized immedi­ately and directly to nonlucid dreaming. Rather, it will come from the kinds of inferences we can draw from reliable differences between the two phenomena.


Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, June, 1985, page 118.


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Stephen LaBerge

Stanford University


David Foulkes is quite correct in noting that when it comes to lucid dreaming we are no longer talking about sleep and dreaming in the “usual” way. Dream lucidity is a paradoxical phenomenon: to resolve the paradox requires a broadening of our understanding of the varieties of dreaming experience and a clarification of our usage of such terms as “sleep,” “awareness,” and “unconsciousness.” For example, Foulkes asserts that “to be asleep is to unaware and unreflective in specifiable ways.” Thus he finds it problematical to hear lucidity described as “being awake and aware in your dreams.” How could this be sleep? The answer is that to say “I is asleep” is vague; what this is probably intended to mean is that “I is asleep in regard to the external world”, i.e., not in sensory contact with it. In one sense lucid dreamers are aware of the external world: they know where they are sleeping. But as LaBerge et al point out, “this knowledge is a matter of memory, not perception” (1981, p. 731) As for “convergent indicators,” both subjective reports and physiological evidence indicate that lucid dreams typically occur during sound sleep (in regard to the external world).


Foulkes objects that the reports I used to illustrate lucid dreaming seem different enough from ordinary dreams to suggest that the two are “different animals.” Of course, these lucid dream reports don’t sound like the “usual” non-lucid dreams (75% of which, according to Snyder, 1970, make very dull reading). They were selected precisely because they were interesting. Lucid Dreaming was written with the general reader in mind; there was no room for dull examples. As for prosaic lucid dreams, I have hundreds of’ examples in my personal record. For quantitative comparisons of lucid and nonlucid dream reports, see the work of Gackenbach and colleagues (i.e., Gackenbach & Schillig, 1983).


Foulkes takes exception to what he regards as an “assumption” on my part: that “dreaming is more like perceiving or living life than like imagining.” LaBerge (1985) presents evidence showing that physiological reactions to dreamed actions were greater than those to imagined actions, and concludes, rather than assumes, that “this suggests that lucid dreaming (and by exten­sion, dreaming in general) is more like actually doing than like merely imagining” (p. 88), Speaking of assumptions, Foulkes appears to regard the notion that “dreaming is symbolically instigated” as an observation rather than a hypothesis. As I explain at length in Chapter 8 of Lucid Dreaming, this is at best a debatable point


Foulkes further suggests “that sleep onset may be a more appropriate reference point than REM sleep for lucid dream phenomena”. However, no clear basis for this claim is provided: although lucid dreaming has on occasion been observed at sleep onset, this is in no way typical. In fact, the great majority of lucid dreams appear to occur in the context of the REM state.


“Is it necessarily as adaptive to be self-aware in…[the dream]…as it is in waking...?” and “if so,” asks Foulkes, “why is nonlucidity so pervasive during dreaming?” This reminds me of a question that one might have overheard in the not so distant past: “If’ writing were really useful then why is illiteracy so pervasive?” As for the question of whether consciousness is as adaptive in the dream as in the waking state, I refer the reader to LaBerge (1985, Chapter 1 especially pp. 6-7), where the argument is developed that the special usefulness of conscious, deliberate action is that it permits more flexible and creative response to unexpected, non-routine situations. Thus, consciousness appears to offer the same advantages to the dream as it does to the waking state. Note that this does not mean that it is desirable to always act deliberately whether asleep or awake.


Foulkes gives the impression that he considers lucid dreaming to be valueless except insofar as it elucidates the features of ordinary nonlucid dreaming by its “defective operations.” Leaving aside the odd notion that lucidity is a cognitive defect, why in any case, should the importance of lucid dreams derive solely from their similarities or differences with nonlucid dreams? Creative thinking may not be very much like ordinary thinking: does that make creativity unimportant? I believe that the relative rarity of lucid dreams has led some researchers (including Foulkes) to dismiss the phenomenon as “insignificant.” True, nonlucid dreaming “must comprise 99.44% of human dream experience.” But that doesn’t make lucid dreams nonexistent or unimportant. To say that dreams are essentially non-reflective is as misleading as the parallel claim: “mammals do not speak.” This later assertion is true of the vast majority of mammalian species with only one exception in 4000—homo sapiens. Whether this singular exception appears significant or not may depend upon ones scope of vision and research interests. But in any case, we would miss the essence of what a mammal is to say they are creatures that do not speak (or swim, fly, etc.) even if most of them do not. Let us not make the same mistake in regard to dreams.



Gackenbach, .1. I. & Schillig, B. (1983). Lucid dreams. The content of conscious awareness of dreaming

     during the dream. Journal of Mental Imagery, 7(2), 1-14.

LaBerge, S., Nagel, L., Dement, W., & Zarcone, V. (1981). Lucid dreaming verified by volitional

    communication during REM sleep. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 52, 727-732.

LaBerge, S. (1985). Lucid dreaming. Los Angeles:        J. P. Tarcher.

Snyder, F. (1970). The phenomenology of dreaming. In H. Madow & L. H. Snow, The psychodynamic

    implications of the physiological studies on dreams. Springfield, Il: C. Thomas.



Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, June, 1985, page 120.


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Alan Moffitt, Sheila Purcell,

Robert Hoffmann, Roger Wells,

and Ross Pigeau

Carleton University


Rechtschaffen (1978) has suggested that dreams are categorically single-minded and isolated. The phenomenon of lucid dreaming, however, suggests that his conclusion is overstated. Furthermore, the empirical status of Rechtschaffen’s claim is uncer­tain. The data on which his claim is based are personal and impressionistic. We view single-mindedness and lucidity as related along a continuum of self-reflectiveness, as suggested by Rossi (1972) and as operationalized in a scale of self-reflectiveness we derived from his work. In order to examine his assertion we conducted two laboratory experimental studies to examine the distri­bution of self-reflectiveness and single- mindedness in the dream reports of high and low frequency dream recallers awakened from stages REM, 2 and 4 Self-reflectiveness of dream reports was quantified using the 9-step scale presented below.



In study one 16 male subjects slept in our laboratory for 3 nights, with experimental awakenings occurring on nights 1 and 3. On the experimental nights, Ss were awakened from stage k at the beginning of the night and from counterbalanced early and late REM and stage 2 awakenings in addition to morning awakenings. In study 2 the same awakening protocol was followed (initial stage 4 awakening followed by counterbal­anced early and late REM and stage 2



Self-reflectiveness Scale in Abbreviated Form




1.         Dreamer not in dream; objects unfamiliar; no people;


2.         Dreamer not in dream: people or familiar objects present;


3.         Dreamer completely involved in dream drama; no other perspective;


4.         Dreamer present predominantly as observer;


5.         Dreamer thinks over an idea or has definity communication with someone;


6.         Dreamer undergoes a transforma­tion of body, role, emotion, age etc.


7.         Dreamer has multiple levels of awareness: simultaneous partici­pating and observing: dream within a dream; false awakening etc.;


8.         Dreamer has significant control in, or control over dream story; can wake up deliberately;


9.         Dreamer can consciously reflect on the fact that he is dreaming.



awakenings prior to the morning awakening), except that Ss slept 4 nights in the labor­atory and awakenings occurred on each night. There were 24 Ss in this study, 12 males and 12 females, half of whom were self-reported high frequency dream recallers and half low frequency recallers.


Results indicated that Rechtschaffen’s claim is correct if it is interpreted distributionally rather than categorically. In both studies reports from stage REM were signifi­cantly more self-reflective than from stages 2 and 4 which did not differ. The reports of high frequency recallers were signifi­cantly more self-reflective than low fre­quency recallers across all stages. The interaction of stage and subject type was not significant single-minded dreams, fall­ing at or below level 6 on the scale of self-reflectiveness accounted for 80-90% of all reports. Higher levels of self-reflectiveness, up to and including spontan­eous lucidity accounted for 10-15% of the dream reports. The correlation of self-reflectiveness with length of the dream report was significant and positive for both groups, but much stronger in the high recallers than in the low recallers. Frequency of recall from experimental awakenings did not differ among the self-reported high and low frequency of recall Ss.


We suggest that Rechtschaffen (1978) and others (Hartmann, 1973; Koukkou & Lehman, 1983) have overstated the single-mindedness of dreams by ignoring the distributional character of the organization of conscious­ness during the dream state and focusing on only one end of a self-reflectiveness continuum. Stage effects appear to truncate the upper end of the continuum, primarily in stage 4. Low frequency recallers show lower average levels of self-reflectiveness, including spontaneous lucidity. These data imply a dynamic but inertial organization of consciousness during dreaming.



Hartniann, E. (1973). The functions of sleep. New Raven: Yale University Press.

Koukkou, M. & Lehman, D. (1983). Dreaming: the functional state-shift hypothesis. British Journal of Psychiatry, 142, 221-231.

Rechtschaffen, A. (1978). The single-minded­ness and isolation of dreams. Sleep. 1, 904-921.

Rossi, E. (1972). Dreams and the Growth of Personality. New York: Pergamon Press.



Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, June, 1985, page 121.


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S. Purcell, J. Mullington, A. Moffitt,

R. Hoffman and B. Pigeau

Carleton University


Many prominent researchers subscribe to the notion that dreaming is cognitively defi­cient relative to normal waking conscious­ness (Foulkes, 1983; Hartmann, 1973; Koukkou & Lehman, 1983). Dreams are perceived as massively non-reflective and single-minded as evidenced by their apparent lack of imagination, lack of lucidity (awareness of dreaming while dreaming), and tendency to be forgotten (Rechtschaffen, 1978). The notion of dream ‘isolation’ from other systems of consciousness has been posited by Rechtachaffen as an inescapable conclusion once these characteristics of dreaming have been understood.


It is not the point of this paper to argue the questionable, underlying assumption that people are imaginative, self—reflective and generally lucid in normal waking conscious­ness. However, we do question the dichotomizing of self-reflectiveness as either present or absent (i.e. lucid or non-lucid). In contrast, this study uses a continuous notion of dream self-reflectiveness (Rossi, 1972) and conceptualizes it as a process which can eventuate in fully lucid dreaming. In addition, we question the need for a postulate such as ‘dream isolation’ unless normative dreaming shows a tenacious resis­tance to self-reflective modification.


Using a scale constructed on the basis of Rossi’s theory of psychosynthesis and self-reflection (Editors Note: See Moffitt et al. paper this issue), this paper reports the results of an experiment assessing the extent to which self-reflectiveness in the dream state can be learned as a cognitive skill.


Three different experimental groups were trained over a three week period in different techniques of achieving self-reflection during dreaming using hypnosis (n=9), a mnemonic induction technique (n=9), and training on the self-reflection scale (n=8). Self-reflection was assessed by scoring the written dream reports of the participants on the scale. Two control groups provided the comparison standard against which the effectiveness of these treatments were evaluated. The first control group (n=11, called an attention control group) received an equivalent amount of training in developing detailed dream report skills but without demand character­istics for self-reflectiveness or lucidity. The second control group (n=11, a baseline control group) was untreated and simply submitted their dream reports over the three week period without specific instructions concerning the quality or quantity of their reports. Averaged across all groups the results indicated that self-reflectiveness showed a normal distribution in these diary reports with categories 3 and 5 occurring the most frequently. The most frequent self-reflective category of the baseline control group was category 3, consisting of dream reports which were both brief and single-minded. The attention control group showed significantly longer dreams with higher scale scores than the baseline group, pre­dominantly in category 5 involving dreams with reported verbalizations. The treatment groups maintained this same pattern but with dream reports more frequently classified as levels 6 to 9. The mnemonic condition appeared to be the most effective in altering the self-reflectiveness of dreams. During week one of the experiment the treatment groups produced significantly more lucid dreams as well as lucid dreamers than the control groups. However, in weeks 2 and 3 these effects were not significant, largely as a result of a general decline in the frequency of reports across all groups, but magnified in direct relation to the strength of the demand characteristics of the experimental treatment conditions. There were also significant positive corre­lations of approximately 50 between the length of the dream reports and the ordinal values of the self-reflectiveness scale.


On the basis of these findings we are able to characterize the self-reflectiveness of normative dreaming (levels 3 to 5) as well as the likelihood of occurrence of higher levels of self-reflection up to and including lucidity, either as a spontaneous event or as a result of experimental manipulations. On the basis of the results of the baseline condition, we suggest that normative dreaming shows another property in addition to those suggested by Rechtschaffen (1978) which we call canalized inertia: an apparent difficulty in developing higher levels of dream self-reflectiveness. Thus, self-reflectiveness of normative dreaming appears to be canalized to certain inter­mediate levels in spite of the spontaneous occurrence of higher levels of self-reflection up to and including the highest level, lucid dreaming. Reflection upon these findings leads us to a number of con­clusions. In our opinion, modern adult dreamers are operating single-mindedly when dreaming because they have learned to do so, not because they have to for bio-physiological reasons. They can learn to do other­wise. We regard the canalization of the self-reflectiveness of normative dreaming as primarily a contingent sociocultural process and only secondarily as a necessary conse­quence of psychophysiological constraints. We conclude that intentional manipulations of attentional schemas in normal waking con­sciousness are sufficient to organize a self—reflective process during dreaming, and that the study of dreaming is not therefore served by the notion that it is isolated from other systems of consciousness.




Foulkes, D. (1983). Cognitive processes during sleep: Evolutionary aspects. In Mayes, A. (Ed.) Sleep

      mechanisms and function. Berkshire, England: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Hartmann, E. (1973). The functions of sleep. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Koukkou, N. & Lehman, D. (1983). Dreaming: the functional state-shift hypothesis. British Journal of

      psychiatry, 142, 221-231.

Rechtschaffen, A. (1978). The single-mindedness and isolation of dreams. Sleep. 1, 97-109.

Rossi, E. (1972). Dreams and the growth of personality. New York: Pergamon Press.


Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, June, 1985, page 122.


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Jayne Gackenbach

University of Northern Iowa



In conjunction with an experiment assess­ing the vestibular sensitivity of frequently lucid dreamers as measured by caloric nystagmus (Gackenbach, Sachau & Rokes, 1982), spontaneous nystagmus or baseline eye movement data were obtained. This is a report on the results and implications of this baseline measure.






Prescreening bad been carried out on 707 Introductory Psychology students at a large midwestern university. Of these 40 female frequent (one or more lucid dreams per month) lucid dreamers, 35 male frequent lucid dreamers, 61 female infrequent (once in a lifetime to several times per year) lucid dreamers, 72 male infrequent lucid dreamers were selected who provided both handedness information and a transcript of a lucid dream, which demonstrated clear understanding of the concept of lucidity. Although transcripts of dreams were provided by many of the remaining 344 subjects, they were judged to be either clearly not a lucid dream, questionably lucid or partially lucid (i.e., false awakenings or suspecting it’s a dream but concluding that it is not). The key indicate for identifying a dream as lucid was the inclusion of some kind of recognition phrase (i.e., ‘then I realized it was only a dream’). Additionally, 73 female nonlucid dreamers and 82 male nonlucid dreamers were able to be classified.


Forty-eight of these primarily right handers were selected from the afore-mentioned sex x dreamer cells (8/cell) who had no history of severe ear problems (Collins, 1965), severe motion sickness (Collins, 1965), severe bodily injury which would affect balance performance (Witkin, Lewis, Hertzman, Machover, Meissner & Wapner, 1954) and visual problems not correctable by glasses (Suttie, 1973).



Lucid Dreaming Questionnaire (LDQ: Gackenbach, 1978). This is a series of questions about lucid dreaming and lucid dreams. One item on this scale asks about a subject’s history of dream recall. Subject’s response to this item was used as a covariate in all data analyses.


Balance History Questions (BHQ). This scale questioned potential subjects about their history of balance related disorders (i.e., ear problems, physical handicaps, vision problems not correctable by glasses and motion sickness history).




An R-511A Dynograph with a 9806A Input Coupler and three electrodes (one ground and one for each eye) was used to measure nystagmus. The electrodes were fixed to the outer canthus of each eye in order to measure horizontal movement of the eyes. Chart speed was 10mm/second and time per event was 1/second.




All potential subjects participated in the prescreening phase of this research project I in groups of 50 to 150. During these mass testings they filled out the LDQ and BHQ. They also indicated the frequency with which they experience dream lucidity as well as provided a transcript of a lucid dream they had experienced. Their handedness was also ascertained.


Eight subjects per sex x dreamer cell for a total of 48 students were contacted and asked to participate in the caloric irrigation task. They were instructed to take no drugs, including caffeine prior to experimental participation. Upon entering the experimental setting, subjects were given a general overview of the experimental procedure. Of concern to this paper was the assessment of spontaneous nystagmus or baseline eye movements. As per Spector (1967), the experimental participant was asked to fix their gaze straight ahead, gaze right and gaze left at marks placed 10 degree from their center gaze and close their eyes. Each of these tasks lasted for 15 seconds and was done with lights on and lights off, in that order.




Two 2 (sex of subject; male and female) x 3 (type of dreamer; frequent, infrequent and never) x 2 (lights; on and off) x 4 (eyes instructed to move; straight, right, left, and closed) x 2 (eyes direction; right and left) analyses of covariance with self-reported dream recall as the covariate were computed on the number of spontaneously emitted beats/second and on the amplitude/beat. Only main effects and interactions involving the three within subject variables reached significance for beats. These included main effects for lights (F(1,42)=29.35, p<.00001) and eye instructions (F(3,126)=14.40, p<.00001) and interactions between lights and eye instructions (F(3,126)=3.88, p<.01), eye instruction and eye direction (F(3,126)=27.66, p<.00001) and lights, eye instruction and eye direction (F(3,126)=3.15, p<.03).


For the analysis on amplitude, the dreamer type by eye direction interaction was significant (F(2,42)=5.01, p<.0l) as were several other effects not involving dreamer type. These included an eye instructions (F(3,126):24.13, p<.00001) main effect and an interaction between eye instructions and eye direction (F(3,126)=74.72, p<.00001). It can be seen in Figure 1 that the frequent lucid dreamers accounted for this interaction. That is, they showed a


is, they showed a significant (Duncan post-hoc q=5.95, p<.O1) left bias in the amplitude of their spontaneously generated nystagmus. Post—hoc tests on nonlucid and infrequently lucid dreamers showed no such side preference.


Figure 1


Mean Spontaneous Nystagmus Amplitude by Type of Dreamer and Direction of eye Movement

Right                              Left


Direction of Eye Movement




If was found that those who report frequently experiencing dream lucidity tend to evidence more leftward amplitude than rightward amplitude. The other two types of dreamers showed no side preference in eye movement amplitude. This is consistent with findings that hypnotic susceptibility (Bakan, 1969; DeWitt & Averill, 1976; Our & Our, 1974), clear mental imagery (Bakan, 1969), interference on the Stroop test (Bakan & Shotland, 1969), frequency of daydreaming (Meskin & Singer, 197~I) and higher verbal abilities (Bakan, 1971) are all associated with left eye movers and dream lucidity ability (Dane, 1984; Hearne, 1978; Gackenbach, Snyder, McKelvey,




If was found that those who report frequently experiencing dream lucidity tend to evidence more leftward amplitude than rigbtward amplitude. The other two types of dreamers showed no side preference in eye movement amplitude. This is consistent with findings that hypnotic susceptibility (Eakan, 1969; DeWitt & Averill, 1976; Our & Our, 1971!), clear mental imagery (Bakan, 1969), interference on the Stroop test (Bakan & Shotland, 1969), frequency of daydreaming (Meskin & Singer, 197~I) and higher verval abilities (Bakan, 1971) are all associated with left eye movers and dream lucidity ability (Dane, 1961!; Bearne, 1978; Gackenbach, Snyder, Moxelvey, McWilliams, George & Rodenelli, 1981; Gackenbach, Curren, LaBerge, Davidson, & Maxwell, 1983).


However, work with eye movement and lucid dreaming abilities and psychological differentiation are conflicting. That is, left movers have been found to be field dependent (Dewitt & Averill, 1976; Pierro & Goldberger, 1982) while these left moving frequent lucid dreamers have been reported as field independent (Gackenbach, Bellman, Boyt & LaBerge, in press). This discrepancy could be due to differences in measurement. Eye movement direction is typically assessed as the number of beats in one direction in response to a series of questions determined by the visual observation of the interviewer (Pierro & Goldberger, 1962). In this study there were no side by dreamer type differences for beats/second and there was no content interview. Distinctions between beats and amplitude are not typically made in the eye movement literature. It may simply be that lucid dreamers represent a particular substrata of left eye movers who are uniquely field independent but similar to other left eye movers in their susceptibility to suggestion and the Stroop effect and experience of vivid imagery and frequent daydreamers.


Additional1y, all of the aforementioned, except the Stroop effect, have been thought to imply superior right hemisphere functioning, although the findings for field independence are somewhat 0ontradictory (Garrick, 1978; Dewitt & Averill, 1976; Meskin & Singer, 1974). In fact, Kinsbourne (1970) and Bakan (1971) suggest that the movement of the eyes is the result of activation of the oontralateral hemisphere especially in right handed males. Relatedly, Snyder and Gackenbach (1981) found, ‘that females who frequently experience lucid dreams, regardless of their handedness, have a greater degree of unilateral cerebral speech organization than do females who never or infrequently experience such dreams (p. 154).” Therefore, unlike their dreamer counterparts, frequently lucid women evidence a cerebral lateralization like right handed males and are consequently more prone to consistency in eye movement direction (Duke, 1968).



Bakan, P. (1969). Hypnotizability, laterality of eye movement and functional brain asymmetry

         Perceptual and Motor Skills, 28., 927-932.

Bakan, P. (1971). The eyes have it. Psychology Today, 64-68.

Bakan, P. & Shotland, R. (1969). Lateral eye movement, reading speed and visual attention.

         Psychonomic Science, 15., 93-94

Collins, W. E. (1965). Subjective responses and nystagmus following repeated unilateral caloric

         stimulation. Annals of Otology. Rhinologv & Laryngology, 74, 1034-1054.

Dane, Joe. (19813). An empirical evaluation of two techniques for lucid dream induction. Unpublished

         doctoral dissertation, Georgia State University.

Dewitt, G. W. & Averill, J. R. (1976). Lateral eye movements, hypnotic susceptibility and field

         independence-dependence. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 43, 1179—1184.

Duke, .J. D. (1968). Lateral eye movement behavior. Journal of General Psychology, 78, 189-195.

Gackenbach, J. I. (1978). A personality and cognitive style analysis of lucid dreaming. Unpublished

         doctoral dissertation, Virginia commonwelth University.

Gackenbach, .J. I., Curren, R., LaBerge, S., Davidson, D. & Maxwell, P. (1983). 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, B.C., June.

Gackenbach, J. I., Heilman, N., Boyt, S. & LaBerge, S. (in press). The relation­ship between field

         independence and lucid dreaming ability. Journal of Mental Imagery.

Gackenbach, J. I., Sachau, D., & Rokes, L. (1982). Vestibular sensitivity and dynamic and static motor

         balance as a function of sex and lucid dreaming frequency. Sleep Research, 11., 104.

Gackenbach, J. I., Snyder, T. J., McKelvey, K., Mcwilliams, C., George, E., & Rodenelli, B.

         (1981). Lucid dreaming: Individual differences in perception. Sleep research, 10, 146.

Garrick, C. (1978). Field dependence and hemispheric specialization. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 47,


Gur, R. C. & Gur, R. E. (1974). Handedness, sex and eyedness as moderating variables in the relationship

          between hypnotic susceptibility and functional brain asymmetry. Journal of Abnormal Psychology,

          83(6), 635—643.

Hearne, K. M. T. (1978). Lucid dreams: An electrophysiological and psychological study. Unpublished

          doctoral dissertation, University of Liverpool.

Kinsbourne, H. (1970). The cerebral basis of lateral asymmetries in attention. Acta Psvchologia, 33, 193-


Meskin, B. B. & Singer, J. L. (1974). Daydreaming, reflective thought, and laterality of eye movements.

           Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30 (1), 64—71.

Pierro, R. A. & Goldberger, L. (1982). Lateral eye movements, field dependence and denial. Perceptual

          and Motor Skills, 55, 371—378.

Snyder, T. J. & Gackenbach, .J. I. (1981). Lucid dreaming and cerebral organization. Sleep Research, 10,


Spector, M. (1967). Dizziness and vertigo. N.Y.: Grune  &  Stratton.

Suttie, S. J. (1973). Differential effects of viewing four patterns of figure movement on performance of a

          dynamic balance task. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 37, 279—282.

Witkin, H. A., Lewis, H. B., Hertzman, M., Machover, K., Meissner, P. B. & Wapner, S. (1954).

          Personality through perception. New York, Harper & Row.


Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, June, 1985, page 124.


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Jayne Gackenbach

University of Northern Iowa


In earlier issues of Lucidity Letter it was reported that females experience more lucid dreams than males

(Vol 1, Numbers 1 & 2). Dream recall was not controlled in any of these studies. One-way analyses of

covariance on various lucid dreaming frequency estimates with dream recall as the covariate for four different samples resulted is no sex differences. Table 1 lists the specifics of these findings. It should be noted that in all four samples care was taken to ensure that subjects understood the concept of dream lucidity by collecting a sample lucid dream and requiring the inclusion of a recognition phrase (i.e. “then I realized I was dreaming”) in the transcript before a subject was included in subsequent data analyses.


Table 1


Sample Type


MALES N/mean






FALL 1981

70/5.361   70/5.121

108/5.47    108/5.48

Self-report at semester start  Self-report at semester end

F(1,175) = 0.18, n.s.  F(1,175) = 2.04, n.s.

Self-report in general


FALL 1983

47/25.562 47/7.713

117/14.81   117/6.18

Self-report for life time              Self-report for last 6 months

F(1,157) = 1.56, n.s.  F(1,157) = 0.23, n.s.

Self-report for life time, last six months, ;ast week, and last night, and number of titled dreams from last night.



17/8.832  17/1.253

22/11.30     22/1.76

Self-report for life time              Self-report for last 6 months

F(1,35) = 0.08, n.s.             F(1,35) = 0.24, n/s.

Self-report for previous week and last night 



52/3.771  52/4.071   56/0.951   56/0.461

69/3.35      69/3.54     75/1.21     75/0.76

Self-report for life time              Self-report for last 6 months          Frequency from week long dream diary                 Pre-lucid dream frequency from week long dream diary

F(1,118) = 3.40, n.s.   F(1,118) = 2.60, n.s.    F(1,128) = 0.05, n.s.     F(1,128) = 2.49, n.s.

Self-report in general                      Total dreams from dream diary

1. 7 = never; 6 = once; 5 = rarely; 4 = 2 to 6 per year; 3 = 1 to 2 per month; 2 = once per week; 1 =             more than one per week.                                                                                                                2. Number of lucid dreams per year.                                                                                                                    3. Number of lucid dreams per month.


Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, June, 1985, page 127.


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Myrna Walters and Robert K. Dentan

Branch School of Beijing Foreign Languages

Institute, Beijing, China


As one of us recently argued (Dentan, in press a, b), many phenomena in nonWestern societies resemble lucid dreaming, but the ethnographic literature includes relatively few specific cases of such phenomena which are unambiguously both lucid and dreams. Much of the ethnographic material comes from societies with elaborated “culture pattern dreams,” highly desired ASCs often involving a degree of conscious control (e.g., Harner, 1973: Noll, 1983). Accounts of lucidity in such culture pattern dreams may stem from informants’ recasting non—lucid ASCs into stereotyped local narrative formats whose conventions mimic lucidity. Conversely, bearing dream accounts in such formats may predispose listeners to lucid dreaming (see, e.g., Devereux, 1957).


In 1984-1985 we worked as professors in Beijing institutions of higher learning. Almost all our students were from the Ran ethnic group, the dominant Chinese “nationality” (936 million people). Traditionally pragmatic, Han tend to regard dreams as trivial and unreliable, a ten— dancy reinforced since 19k9 by programmatic Marxist materialism and isolation from Western intellectual trends (for a sampling of traditional Han responses to dreams, see Feng, 1981; Lai, 1970; Lai & Lin, 1978; Li, 1982; Minford, 1983; Pu, 1981; Sima, 1979; “Straits Times”, 1983: Yang, Yang & Hu, 1983: Yi & Xu, 1984; Zhong, 1983: for non—Han Chinese, see, e.g., Qui, 1983). To our students the notion of lucid dreams seemed to be completely alien and unfamiliar. In short, the lucid dreaming reported below seems uninfluenced by Western ideas or by Han values. The unprompted appearance of lucid dreaming in accounts collected from two separate classes during the collection of about 50 dream accounts from the same number of Han undergraduate and graduate students seems therefore worth reporting even before the main body of material is analyzed.


The two accounts are verbatim and una­bridged. Although “Chinglish” narratives may distort the experiences being described more than Chinese would have, they are prob­ably more true to life than a foreigner’s English would be, and “polishing” might lose nuances “Chinglish” captures. The accounts are given in full to preserve narrative context and, e.g., so that readers can note that “A’s” specific dream accounts seem to belie his general description of his dreams. Dentan (1984, in press b) details the rationale for these editorial decisions. Our full report will describe the circum­stances in which the dreams were collected.


A.        Man in his 20s; graduate student in physics.

    I don’t have colour dreams I think I have to say my dreams are black and white for it’s hard for me to

    remember the colours of the dreams that I had had.

         I don’t think I sleeping deeply when I was dreaming because the dream that I was having were

    controlled by me. When it would lead some terrible results then I could stop the dream and if

something happy would happen then I would let the dream go on.

Here are three of my dreams.

1.         I took the mathematics exam of the university Entrance Exam one day. When I sat in the classroom, the questions, I found, were all about politics which were the most difficult for me. So I bad nothing to do but to sigh. . . .Stop.

2.         I had killed one of my best friends and I was tried to death. Stop.

3.         I took part in the Second World War and when I had a gun fight with the Japanese, my gun didn’t work but I couldn’t be killed either by bullets of the enemies. Stop.

B.         Man in his early 205; science student.

I don’t dream often even I really have a dream, I often cannot remember it when I wake up, though I know I dreamt.But its not always the case. Sometimes I can remember tbe dream clearly. What is more, I often dream the same dream. Although I can’t tell it now, I know when I’m dream­ing that I once dreamt this dream before that I’m just dreaming. And I even know what’s going to happen consequently.

Another interesting thing is that if I’m waken up while I’m dreaming, I can continue the same dream when I soon fall asleep again. In dream, I can never be killed no matter by a gun or a knife or anything else. When someone is chasing me, I can never run fast no matter how much energy I put in use. I’ll be able to take off and fly as a bird when I’m nearly caught up.

On the eve of an event that I consider important to me, I always dream it’s taking place and I always find something is wrong with me. For instance, when I’m going to take an examination I dream I’m taking it, and I will certainly fail it since I get so many problems not to know how to solve and I don’t have enough times to do the problems though I’m in a hurry. Another one is that, when I was going home to go on holidays I dreamt I had missed my train, however, I somehow got on the train later, and I left behind so many things that I wanted to take with me.


The foregoing data are consonant with the speculation that lucid dreaming is a “universal,’ found in all societies, re­gardless of whether it is generally valued in a society. On the other hand, Han college students’ lucidity may be a way of escaping the anxiety about striving and failing which seems to crop up in many of their dreams, including the two oases above. I culturally caused competitive stress predisposes people to lucid dreaming in this way, the question of whether lucid dreaming would spontaneously occur in less competi­tive societies (or less competitive sectors of Han society) remains moot.




Dentan, Robert K. (in press, a). Lucidity, sex and horror in Senoi dreamwork. In J. L. Gackenbach and S. LaBerge (Eds.) Lucid dreaming: New research on consciousness during sleep. New York: Plenum.

Dentan, Robert K. (in press, b). Enthno­graphic considerations in the cross cultural study of dreaming and lucidity. In J. L. Gackenbach (Ed.) A sourcebook on sleep and dreams. New York: Garland.

Devereux, George (1957). Dream learning and individual ritual differences in Mohave shamanism. American Anthropologist, 59,


Feng Menglong (1981). Lazy dragon. C. Barme ed., Yang X. & G. Yang (Trs.). Chinese stories from the Ming dynasty. Hongkong: Joint Publishing Co.

Harner, Michael J. (Ed.) (1973). Hallucinogens and shamanism. New York: Oxford University Press.

Lai, T. C. (Ed. and Tr.) (1970). Chinese couplets. (2nd. ed.). Hong Kong: University Bookstore.

Lai, T. C., & Lin Ch’ing /=Qing_/ (1978). A wild swan’s trail. The travels of a mandarin. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Book Centre.

Li Guangtian. (1982). A pitiful plaything and other essays. Beijing: Panda Books.

Minford, John. (Ed. and Tr.). (1983). Favourite folktales of China. Beijing: New World Press.

Noll, Richard. (1983). Shamanism and schizophrenia: A state—specific approach to the ‘schizophrenia metaphor’ of shamanic states. American Ethnologist, 10 443—459.

Pu Songling. (1981). Selected tales of Liapzhai. Yang X. and G. Yang (Trs.), Beijing: Panda Books.

Qui Pu. (1983). The Oroquend--China’a nomadic hunters. Wang H. (Tr.), Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.

Sims Qian /Szuma Ch’ien_/ (1979). Selections from records of the historian. Yang X. and G. Yang (Trs.), Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.

“Straits Times” (Ed.). (1983). Fun with Chinese characters. (Vol. 3.) Kuala Lunpur: Federal Publications.

Yang Xiangyi, Gladys Yang & Hu Singuang (Eds. and Trs.) (1983). Selections from the Book of Songs. Beijing: Panda Books.

Yi Qiong & Zu Junhui (1984). Elephant trunk hill. Tales from scenic Guilin. M. A. Bender and Shi K. (Trs.), Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.

Zhong Jingwen (1983). Seeking her husband at the Great Wall. In Women in Chinese

folklore, Beijing: “Women in China”. 45-60.


Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, June, 1985, page 128.


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Andrew Brylowski

University of Texas Medical School

at Houston


In reference to the Price and Cohen (1983) article “Auditory Biofeedback As A Lucidity Induction Technique” which was in the Vol 2, No 14Lucidity Letter as the lucid dream subject referred to in the article, I found no mention of the relevant past personal history, or an assessment of interview and written subjective comments. The significant personal findings are probably relevant for an accurate preliminary evaluation of the experimental results.


First, by way of background, in late 1979 1 moved to England to study metaphysics with Dr. Douglas Baker at Claregate College of England. The primary responsibility of students there, including myself, was to record all subjective experiences in order to contemplate their meaning. An increased inner awareness was our goal. Any exercise which focused our attention to one thought, to a point or word for example, was encouraged (meditation). Dreams were recorded diligently and I still currently practice these exercises. The purpose of these exercises was to attain higher levels of consciousness. After two months at Claregate, I had my first astral or out—of-body experience, proposed by some as the metaphysical terminology for dream lucidity. During the next two years, I developed my exercises in meditation, recorded two, 300-page journals of my dreams, and experienced twelve inner lucidity experiences.


I met Robert Price, a psychology graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, who was in need of a good dream recaller, in early 1982. I started sleeping in the lab for Price at that time. In his research project the experimenter administered a tone in two contingencies: one was designed to increase rapid eye movements, which would terminate the tone, while the other was designed to decrease rapid eye movements, which would also terminate the tone. There may have been a few base—line recordings where no tone was used, or where the tone did not correlate with eye movements. Bob Price would awaken me after each REM period and ask me a battery of standardized questions, lasting approximately 10 minutes, concerning the dream in general, it’s content, and scenes. On several occasions during dream recall sessions, I reported lucidity.


During the summer of 1982, Bob mentioned in passing that a Dr. LaBerge at Stanford had signaled with eye movements when lucid. I said something to the effect that I would try it, I did, and succeeded.


I told Price that I had been practicing astral projection as outlined in Dr. Bakers’ book, The Techniques of Astral Projection, and gave him a copy of the pertinent chapters. I had been practicing these techniques once a night while going to sleep, and sometimes during the day before a nap or in conjunction with meditation. I had been doing this almost every day for 2 years.


Since Price and I both agreed, around the 15th night, that my astral projection was in REM sleep, we referred to it as lucidity and I agreed to become lucid during REM as an experimental protocol. It was around this time that I diligently began to practice Bakers’ techniques while going back to sleep after each laboratory REM awakening and questioning session. I was practicing to become lucid in an inner world 5 times on these particular nights, when previous to this I had been practicing once per night at most. I even wrote affirmation on some of the protocol mood sheets and in my dream diary clearly stating my intentions and motivations be become lucid while sleeping in the lab. This information would correlate well with Price and Cohens’ graph depicting an increase in percent of lucid scenes from the 15th to 26th nights.


It is my opinion that without a relevant past and present personal history, an accurate preliminary evaluation of the experimental results is impossible. An analogy fitting this situation would be Medical Doctors never asking their patients with lung cancer if they smoke. What kind of meaningful statistics could be generated if this were the case?



Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, June, 1985, page 130.


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Kenneth Moss

Wayne State University


The “vortex phenomenon” is an experience in which there is the sensation of whirling through a vortex. The visual component of the phenomenon (i. e. the vortex) is an adaption of Kluver’s geometric constants (Kluver, 1966) with the added characteristic of intricate dreamer involvement. Two of these in this study due to their special assessability in becoming a vortex. The commonly reported “tunnel experience” I feel is a sub—section of the fully developed vortex.


This phenomenon and various equivalents have been reported as an associated finding in a variety of situations such as near—death experiences, out—of—body experiences, artistic works, mystical experiences, drug— induced hallucinations (Siegal, 1977), epileptic and schizophrenic twilight states (Mayer—Gross, 1969), hostage hallucinations, hypnagogic and hynapompic hallucinations and dreams. It is usually transitional in nature and is sometimes associated with feelings of bliss, creativity and the sense of a new beginning or of a major advancement. Early in my lucid dreaming research it had a sporadic occurrence, however, following my increased interest the frequency is approximately 5-10 times a month.


In most circumstances the vortex is imposed with no significant control of the course. This study investigates the experimentation of the author with the purpose of discovering techniques that may eventually permit the direct induction and control of the phenomenon in lucid dreams. By taking advantage of the qualities of awareness and volition, as found in lucid dreams, specific visual elements are implemented with the intention of enhanced conscious experience.


The vortex phenomenon may have already existed in the baseline dream or occurred as the result of an intended visualization. However, these occasions were infrequent and subject to significant scene change limitations. The following induction methods were still found to be of importance in the regulation and outcome of the vortex during these occurrences. These identified methods in general involve radical changes of the visual field resulting in the predominance of the vortex sequence. These are overall strategies from the view of the dreamer within the lucid dream.


1. The first of these induction strategies I have termed “field acceleration” and is based on the movement implied in my definition of the vortex phenomenon. This strategy is illustrated in the following dream account.


Dream I:

In this lucid dream I was walking along a trail and decided to form a vortex. I then began running fast and attained an incredible speed at which time the scenery was streaked out. The light trailers coalesced forming a vortex and my momentum continued as I whirled through the vortex (Moss, 1985a).


Elements of the visual field are streaked into forming the components of a vortex. This change may be accomplished either by the apparent movement of the dreamer or the visual field. The initial result may be similar to the photc3rapbs obtained with prolonged exposure when “zooming” with a telephoto lens (Bohen and Millard, 1984; Moss, 1985b). Although the initiating movement may be linear a rotational component is necessary for a fully developed vortex. Visual field arcing, pulsation and scintillation also facilitated the sensation of movement and dreamer participation. This generation of movement extends beyond induction and is an important factor in the regulation and outcome of the vortex.



2. The second induction strategy is very similar to the first, but lacks the speed effect. In this strategy, which could be termed “field accent”, certain visual elements are enlarged and brought closer to the dreamer. This method is exemplified in the following dream.


Dream II:

In this lucid dream I was viewing from some distance a vivid cloud formation out of a window. I decided to enlarge the scene until I was viewing at close range a large screen developed a three­dimensionality I found myself in a cloud field. As the field began to rotate a vortex was formed and I felt myself to be in synchrony with the clouds.


As a result of this interactional viewing the element is transformed from something that is distant into something that is around and interacting with the dreamer. The close—up perspective may enhance certain patterns that are more assessable to the vortex threshold, in addition to identifying distant vortex-equivalents. Close—range screen viewing is commonly reported in experiences in which vortices occur. This process usually lacks the speed effect as found in field acceleration, although, the enlargement may create the illusion of movement which would eventually take over the dream sequence.


3. The last induction strategy I have termed “field involution” and is described in the following dream.


Dream III:

In this lucid dream I closed my eyes which resulted in a visual field of stroboscopic multi—colored floaters. I then induced a vortex by contracting the visual field and myself down to a singularity. I then seemed to regain dimensionality and underwent a frenzied altered state.


In this strategy the visual field is contracted inward and the resulting involutional action forms a vortex. This process is also suggested in the definition of the vortex phenomenon. The initial phase may resemble the perspective obtained with a wide—angle lens.


The form that the vortex takes is quite variable and as already noted numerous visual elements can be adapted. These include tunnels, funnels, spirals, cones, star fields, kaleidoscopic fields, geometric patterns, lattices, cobwebs, spectral arrays, entoptic patterns and light rays.


Volitional factors were important in the regulation of the vortex experience including the intention not to be distracted and to be deliberate in the maintenance of the vortex. The prior or concurrent onset of lucidity facilitated the induction at regulation of the vortex phenomenon in n dreams. Furthermore, lucidity was found t allow a large degree of volitional control with the relative preservation of the innate nature of the dream. Also important wet flow momentum factors such as ongoing visual field movement and stroboscopic effects.


Vortex experimentation resulted in transitional break with the baseline dream flow. A common outcome was the alteration and accentation of feelings and emotions. The visual experience induced a change in the dreamer’s visual reference perspective and lighting field. The subsequent action of the visual pattern may be a factor in producing the vibrational or synaesthetic resonance that I often experienced I relation to the waveform phenomena. These sensations were especially pronounced if synchronized with stroboscopic elements of the vortex or various tinnitus-like sounds.


The termination of the vortex occurred when the dreamer was startled into an abrupt awakening (real or false) or was distracted and veered from the vortex course. On other occasions the vortex would lead to a alternative dreamscape or would eventually dissolve. Sometimes it would be interfered with by another dream sequence flow.


The regulatory factors Identified here were found to be important in vortex development and may represent refinements that allow more controlled vortex experimentation.





Boben, E. & Millard, H. “Zooming.” Modern Photography. 48(4), 76+.

Kluver, H. (1966). Mescal and Mechanisms of Hallucinations. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Mayer—Gross, W., Slater, E., & Roth, M. (1969). , Clinical Psychiatry

Baltimore:         Williams and Wilkins.

Moss, K., (1985). 1980—1985 Dream—Research Journal. Unpublished Manuscript.

Moss, K., (1985). 1980—1985 Photography Journal. Unpublished Manuscript.

Siegal, R. (1977). Hallucinations Scientific American. 237(4), 132—140.


Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, June, 1985, page 131.


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With the Eyes of the Mind: An Empirical Analysis of Out-of-Body States,


by Glen 0. Gabbard and Stuart W. Twemlow. New York: Praeger Scientific, 1984. 273 + xii pp.


Reviewed by Susan Blackmore

Brain and Perception Laboratory,

University of Bristol, England


With the Eyes of the Mind is the first book on OBEs written by practicing psychiatrists; a fact which is both its strength and its weakness. It is full of interesting survey results as well as fascinating case material, but its theoretical contribution is narrowly psychoanalytic and displays little understanding of broader psychologi­cal and parapsychological perspectives.


The book is in four parts; beginning with useful definitions and descriptions of OBEs, together with an account of the authors’ large survey carried out through a national periodical. A prototypical kind of OBE is outlined but the most important finding is that people who have OBEs are psychologi­cally very healthy with no signs of mental illness, psychotic thinking or deviant characteristics. In other words there is nothing wrong with you for having an OBE!


The second section usefully differentiates the OBE from pathological states of deper­sonalization, autoscopy and schizophrenic body boundary disturbances and compares it with dreaming, daydreaming, lucid dreaming and hypnagogic and hypnopompic states. The “realness” and clarity of the OBE state is emphasised.


Part 3 provides an overview of the near-death experience and various explanatory hypotheses. The authors then return to their survey data; comparing the features of the experiences across the contexts in which they occur. They conclude that demographic and cultural variables have little effect on the kind of experience but people prone to NDEs have a different cognitive—perceptual style. There is also a fascinating chapter on NDEs in children showing, with several case studies, the similarities to adult NDEs.


Section 4 is entitled “Understanding the Out-of-Body Experience” and ends with “The Mind/Body Trap”; arguing that human beings naturally tend to divide the world into mind and matter, but this division is false and the question of whether anything leaves the body is unanswerable. The authors finally offer their own theory of the OBE.


I find it very hard to criticise this book because it is such a mixture of good and bad. Generally speaking the book is well produced but there are wildly inaccurate quotes, contradictions between tables and text and the index is inaccurate and patchy.


The section on NDEs makes a real contribution to the literature, especially in its analysis of the survey data and the fascinating section on children’s experi­ences.


The section on dreams is varied. The authors emphasise the claims that OBEs are “more real than a dream” and they make a convincing case that we should take these claims seriously. However, they make some odd and unsubstantiated statements such as “In a dream one does not dream about being in one’s bedroom looking at one’s body…it is not common to even see oneself in a dream” (p. 95). No evidence is cited to back up these statements, but they are certainly false since several studies have shown large proportions of people claim to see themselves during ordinary dreams.


There is a short but somewhat confusing section on lucid dreaming. For example early on the authors say “…lucidity in dreams is probably quite common, based on our informal surveys of students and on our clinical experience.” Only later do they go on to give a fair discussion of evidence on the incidence of lucid dreams.


But by far the weakest part of the book is the theoretical section. Throughout the book the authors tend to interpret every experience in psychoanalytic terms. Some readers will enjoy this, but for those unfamiliar with psychoanalysis, or those who need to be convinced of its value, the authors provide no clear explanations and no convincing argument that this interpretation has any advantages. To make matters worse their treatment of some other theories is almost derisory. Parapsychological and occult theories of the ODE are barely considered and “psychological theories” are given two pages into which are crammed brief comments on Ehrenwald, Jung, Greyson and Noyes, Blackmore, Palmer and Honegger. All are briefly dismissed and none well explained. My own theory is completely misrepresented. I have often criticised the Ulmagination plus ESP’ theory as just a catch—all of no explanatory value (Blackmore, 1982). And yet Twemlow and Gabbard say the “Blackmore…asserts that the out-of—body experience is a combination of imagination and extrasensory perception” (p. 189)!


But I shouldn’t let this unduly influence my opinion of the book — more generally I found myself irritated by their criticisms of other viewpoints, including Jungian analytic ones, while endorsing uncritically their unexplained Freudian concepts.


Coming to their own theory, Gabbard and Twemlow attempt two contributions. First they align several experiences along a continuum of altered mind/body perception; going from the OBE at one end, through depersonalization in the middle, to schizophrenic body disturbances at the other. However, this continuum is not defined by any simple variable of mind/body perception (other than increasing pathology) and many experiences which are clearly related to the OBE find no place along it -like many kinds of NDE and lucid dreams; both of which Gabbard and Twemlow stress are closely related to OBEs. Their second con­tribution is the “ego—uncoupling model”. Briefly it suggests that the OBE occurs when “cathexis is withdrawn from the bodily ego feeling and the mental ego cathexis is experienced as separate from the body”. In other words they suppose a separation of bodily and mental ego. For some readers this may be meaningful; it may even fit with their experiences, but frankly, it leaves me baffled as to its value. A theory of OBEs can be useful in many ways; by accounting for existing knowledge about the OBE, by providing a coherent account which seems meaningful to people who have the experiences or by providing testable predictions for the future. I don’t think this theory does any of these adequately.


However, I may have misjudged Gabbard and Twemlow’s theory. I would certainly recommend those interested in lucidity to read this book and make up their own minds. In its survey work and cases it provides an important contribution to the literature and some readers may find value in the theories which I totally missed. Moat importantly this book provides an entirely new approach to OBEs and NDEs and as such it is to be welcomed.



Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, June, 1985, page 133.


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News and Notes



Jayne Gackenbach

University of Northern Iowa


In conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Dreams, Stephen LaBerge, of Stanford University, and I have organized a day long symposium on lucid dreaming. Major figures in lucid dreaming work from a variety of’ disciplines and from around the world will be discussing the phenomenon. If interested in attending please fill out the form below and return with $25 to me by June 10th.








                                             A.M. Chair--Jayne Gackenbach

                                                      University of Northern Iowa

                                             P.M. Chair--Stephen LaBerge

                                                      Stanford University


7:00-8:00 a an. --REGISTRATION





1.   Barbara Tedlock, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Tufts Univ. (Chair)

2.   Patric Giesler, Institute for Parapsychology, Durham, NC

3.   Deborah Jay Hillman, Dept. of Anthropology, New School of

Social Research

4.   Stanley Krippner, Saybrook Institute San Francisco, CA



                          SHORT TALKS


8:45-8:55 --George Gillespie, Dept. of Oriental Studies University of Pennsylvania


8:55-9:05 --Harry Hunt, Dept. of Psychology, Brook Univ.

 9:05-9:15 --Fabian Tawsano,

                    Institute of Psychophysical

                    Research, Oxford, England


9:15-9:45 a.m.--REFRESHMENT BREAK



                                      AND LUCID DREAMING: A SYMPOSIUM


9:45—10:00--Charles McCrerry, Institute of Psychophysical Research

                                Oxford, England

10:00—10:15--Patric Giesler, Institute for Parapsychology

                      Durham, North Carolina

          10:15—10:30--Andrew Brylowaki

                      University of Texas Medical School at Houston

          10:30-10:40--Roy Salley, Psychology Service, McGuire Veterans Administration

                                Center Richmond, VA (discussant)



                               LUCIDITY ABILITY: A TALK


Jayne Gackenbach, Dept. of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa





1.                     Stephen LaBerge, Sleep Research

Center, Stanford University (Chair)

2.                     George Gillespie

University of Pennsylvania

3.                     Jill Gregory, Navato, California

4.                     Kenneth Moss, Wayne State University

5.                     HenriRouvouan, Paris, France

6.                     Alan Worsley, Bull, England


12:00—1:00 p.m.--LUNCH BREAK




Stephen LaBerge,

Sleep Research Center

Stanford University




        1.                                                         Stephen LaBerge, Sleep Research Center, Stanford Univ., (Chair)

2.     Andrew Brylowski, University or Texas Medical School at Houston

3.     Dana Redington, Sleep Research Center, Stanford University

4.     Pierre Etevenon, Centre Hospitalier and INSERM, Paris, France

5.     Harry Runt, Department of Psychology, Brook University

6.     Joseph Dane, Pain Management Center, Univ. of VA Medical School





2:30—2:45 --Celia Green, Institute of Psychophysical Research, Oxford, England


2:45-3:00 --Jayne Gackenbach, Dept. of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa


3:00—3:15 --Alan Moffitt, Dept. of Psychology, Carleton Univ.


3:15—3:30 --Harry Hunt, Dept. of Psychology, Brock Univ. (Discussant)



3:30-4:00 p.m.-—REFRESHMENT BREAX






1.  Robert Price, Dept. of Psychology, Univ. of Texas at Austin, (Chair)

2.  Christian Bouchet, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, France

3.  Roger Ripert, Cedex, France

4.  Joe Dane, Pain Management Center, Univ. of VA Medical School

5.  Stephen LaBerge, Sleep Research Center, Stanford University





         1.    Patrica Garfield, San Francisco, California (Chair)

2.     Gordon Halliday, The Center for Individual and Family Services, Mansfield, Ohio

3.     Jean Campbell, Poseidia Institute, Virginia Beach, Virginia

4.     Ann Sayre Wiseman, Cambridge, Massachusetts

5.     Judith Malamud, New York, New York

6.     Morton Schatzman, London, England












Dr. Jayne Gackenbach

Department of Psychology

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0505





During the annual meeting of the Associa­tion for the Study of Dreams, to be held June 17—23 at the University of Virginia, there will be several lucid dreaming presentations. These include:




PRECONVENTION WORKSHOP: Drs. Patricia Garfield and Stephen LaBerge Creativity and Consciousness. Approaches to creative problem solving and lucid dreaming will be explored during the evening session and subsequent dreams processed the next morning. Tues. night, Wed. A.M.; $50.00. (Peabody 106, Nest to Student Union). To register contact Dr. Bob Van de Castle, 6 East, Blue Ridge Hospital, Charlottesville, VA.





(see elsewhere In this issue of Lucidity Letter for details.)





1:30—2:30 P.M.         Ball Room, Newcomb Hall


Stephen Laberge, Ph.D. Dr. LaBerge is an experimental psychologist associated with the Sleep Disorders Center at Stanford University. His recently published book is entitled Lucid Dreaming.




2:15-4:15 P.M.           Ball Boom


Stephen LaBerge. Ph.D.          (Chair)


2:45-3:05 “Dream Self—reflectiveness as a Learned Cognitive Skill”. Sheila Purcell, M.A,, J. Mullington, B.A., A. Moffitt, Ph.D., B. Hoffmann, Ph.D., and B. Pi&eau, Ph.D. The presenters are all associated with the Psychology Department at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.


SUMMARY:  Contrary to a prevalent view, this study shows that dreaming is not all single—minded but variable along a self—reflective process continuum culminating in lucid dreaming. Neither is it isolated from other systems of conscious­ness, but rather this canalization is learned and is modifiable through learning.


3:05—3:25 “A Cognitive Psychology of Lucid Dreams”. Harry Hunt, Ph.D. Dr. Hunt is a cognitive psychologist with the Department of Psychology at Brook University in Ontario.


SUMMARY:  This cognitive psychology of lucid dreaming comes from its overlap with OBE and meditation. These can be understood as a direct manifestation of the “reflexivity” and “taking the role of the other” underlying the human symbolic capacity —— but unfolding indepen­dently of pragmatic usage and in a “presentational” (non—representa­tional) symbolic mode.


3:25—3:45 “A Comparison of Waking Instruc­tions and Post—hypnotic Suggestion for Lucid Dream Induction”. Joseph Dane, Ph.D. and Robert L. Van de Castle, Ph.D. Dr. Dane is a clinical psychologist associated with the Pain Management Center at the University of Virginia Medical School. Dr. Van de Castle is a Professor in the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Virginia Medical School.


SUMMARY:  In the course of one sleep lab night per 5, both Waking Instructions and Waking Instructions plus Post—hypnotic Suggestion induced empirically verified lucid dreams during both REM and non—REM sleep in a substantial portion of 30 hypnotically susceptible females (formerly) non—lucid dreamers. Five post—hoc measures suggested qualitative superiority of hypnotically induced results.


3:45—3:55 “Evidence of Non—REM Lucid Dreams: Theory, Physiology and Phenomenology”. Joseph Dane, Ph.D. and Robert L. Van de Castle, Ph.D.


SUMMARY:  In a laboratory study of lucid dream Induction, 17 out of 20 successfull (formerly) non—lucid dreamers reported a total of 30 empirically validated lucid dreams during NREM sleep. Possible explan­ations as well as theoretical, phenomenological, and physiological evidence for this occurance are presented and discussed.


3:55-1l:15 “Eye Movement Direction and the Lucid Dreaming Ability”. Jayne Gackenbach, Ph.D. Dr. Gackenbach is an experimental psychologist who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the Univ. of Northern Iowa. She is also editor of the ASD Newsletter and the Lucidity Letter.


SUMMARY:  Those who report frequently experiencing dream lucidity tend to evidence more leftward eye move­ment amplitude than rightward. Infrequently lucid and non-lucid dreamers showed no side preference.



3:3O-4:15 P.M.          South Meeting Room


4:00-4:15 “From Lucid Dream to Dreamless Sleep”. George Gillespie Mr. Gillespie is a Ph.D. candidate in Sanskrit at the Univer­sity of Pennsylvania.


SUMMARY:  Tibetan Buddhist texts describe how meditation practices during lucid dreaming lead to dreamless sleep in which may occur visions of the void and the light. When we separate the phenomena described from their metaphysical interpretation we see how the experiences of “dreamless sleep” differ from ordinary dreaming.


BECOMING LUCID (A Mini Workshop)     

7:00—9:00 P.M.         Cavalier Room A

Leader is Judy Malamud, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist from New York City whose dissertation was on lucid dreaming.


FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 1985




8:30—9:15 P.M.         Ball Room


Prepared by Kenneth Moss, M.D. who has been an amateur in nature, scientific and special effects photography and cinematography, since 1975. Dr. Moss lives in Michigan.





9:30—10:00 A.M.      South Meeting Room


9:45-10:00 “Dream Evolution Towards Aware­ness”. Pierre Etevenon, Ph.D. Dr. Etevenon does research at the French equivalent of the National Institute of Health. He has recently published a book in France on dream evolution.


SUMMARY:  A new perspective of evolution of human consciousness includes evolution of sleep and dreaming processes towards greater insight and awareness of thoughts, emo­tions, energies, and body harmo­nized together. Lucid and vivid dreaming leads to visions and peak experiences.


SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 1985



8:30—9:30 A.M.        Ball Room


9:00—9:15 “Single—Mindedness and Self-Reflectiveness Laboratory Studies”. Allen Moffitt, Ph.D., F. Purcell, M.A., R. Hoffmann, Ph.D., R. Wells, Ph.D. and R. Pigeau, Ph.D.. All of the presenters are

affiliated with the Sleep Laboratory at Carleton University in Ottawa.


SUMMARY:  Two studies (N=16, 24) examine the distribution of self—reflectiveness and single—mindedness and the dream reports of self—reported high and low frequency dream reporters awakened from stages REM, II, and IV sleep. The majority of dream reports from all stages of sleep were found to be single—minded. Reports from stage REM were more self-reflective than from stages II and IV, as were the dream reports of high frequency recallers.





I look forward to attending the ASD Conference in Charlottesville, VA June 20—23,1985*







__ASD Member Discount          __Regular

        $95.00                                  Participant




Information on lodging & Mini—Workshops will be sent upon receipt of registra­tion. *The Mini—Workshops June 17, 18, & 19 require an additional fee per workshop.

My check/money order for $________ is enclosed. Make checks payable to ASD and send to:

ASD, 337 Spruce St., San Francisco, CA 94118. Non—U.S. members should buy & send US dollars.

Refund policy: 50% return from 4/1 to 5/30 only.




Each issue of Lucidity Letter contains recent references on dream lucidity. The complete bibliography can be obtained by purchasing all past issues from the editor.


Conello, E. (1984). Lucid dreaming: A review and experiential study of waking intrusions during stage REM sleep. Journal of Mind and Behavior, 5(1), 81-98.


Dane, Joseph (198k). A comparison of waking instructions and post hypnotic suggestion for lucid dream induction. Unpublish doctoral dissertation, Georgia State University, Atlanta. (Available from Univerisity Microfilms Interna­tional, 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106.)


Feynmam, R.P. (1985). “Surely you’re joking. Mr. Feynman!” New York: W. W. Norton, pp. 45—52.


Gregory, Jill S. (1985). Becoming a lucid

dreamer: An analysis of my development in the art and science of lucid dreaming. Unpublished bachelor’ thesis, Dominican College, (Order information available from: Jill Gregory, 29 Truman Dr., Novato, CA 94947.)


LaBerge, S. (1985). Lucid dreaming. Los Angeles:      Jeremy Tarcher. (Distributed at $15.95 by

         Boughton Mifflin Co., 2 Park St., Boston, MA 02108 or contact Kim Freilich at 213-273-

         3274 for order information.)


Sparrow, G. S. (1983). An exploration into the induction of greater reflectiveness

and ‘lucidity’ in nocturnal dream reports. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. (Available from University Microfilms International 300 N. Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48106.)


Wasserman, I. & Ballif, B. L. (1984—85). Perceived interactions between the dream and the waking divisions of consciousness. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 4(1), 3—13.




Starting in 1985 Lucidity Letter is published biannually in June and December. Copy for the June issue should be received by May 1 and for the December issue by November 1. Articles should be submitted in the style of the American Psychological Association and in duplicate. Research case, clinical, theoretical, and personal observation papers as well as book reviews and news of lucid dreaming make up the contents of this newsletter. Subscriptions are $10 per year and past issues are available from the editor (Dr. Jayne Gackenbach, Dept. of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614 for $10 domestic and $15 foreign.


 Lucidity Letter Back Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, June, 1985, page 134.


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