Lucidity Letter - June 1986 - Vol. 5, No. 1

Lucidity Letter

Letter from the Editor - 2

Jayne Gackenbach



Deborah Jay Hillman and Patric Gresler



1.   Ordinary Dreams, Lucid Dreams and Mystical Experiences - 27

George Gillespie

  1. 2.      Lucid Dreams and Meditation - 31

            Harry Hunt



     1.    The Relationship Between the Out-of-Body Experience and Lucid Dreaming: A Personal Account - 38

              Patric Giesler                                                                        

     2.    The Out-of-Body Experience: A Personal Account - 43

               Andrew Brylowski                                                             

     3.    Comments on the OBE/Lucid Dream Controversy - 47

               Roy Salley                                                                           



1.   Personality Characteristics Associated With the Dream Lucidity Ability: Fact or Fiction - 57

                   Jayne Gackenbach                                                           



Stephen LaBerge (Chair), Beverly Kedzierski, Kenneth Moss, Jill Gregory, George Gillespie and Henri Rojouan   



           Stephen LaBerge                                                                    



      1.   H—reflex in Lucid Dreams - 116

              Andrew Brylowaki

      2.   EEG Cartography of a Night of Sleep - 119

              Pierre Etevenon

      3.   Alpha and Dream Lucidity - 128

              Harry Hunt                                                                           

      4.   Non—REM Lucid Dreaming - 133

              Joe Dane                                                                              



1.   Kinesthetic Imagery as a Duality of Lucid Awareness; Descriptive and Experimental Case Studies - 147

Tore Neilsen                                                                

2.   The Manifest Content of Self-reported Lucid Versus Non-lucid Dreams - 160

Jayne Gackenbach                                                      

  1. 3.      Dream Psychology: Operating in the Dark - 180

            Alan Moffitt, Sheila Purcell, Robert Hoffman, Ross Pigeau and Roger Wells

4.   Discussant - 197

Harry Hunt                                                                 



Robert Price (Chair), Stephen LaBerge, Christian Bouchet, Roger Ripert and Joe Dane



Patricia Garfield (Chair), Judith Malamud, Jean Campbell, Ann Sayre Wiseman and Gordon Halliday     


K.  NEWS AND NOTES - 250                                                                

1.   Lucid Dreaming Workshops With Stephen LaBerge

2.   Lucid Dreams Bibliography Update


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 Letter from the Editor


            In this issue are the proceedings from a day-long symposium on lucid dreaming held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association forthe Study of Dreams in June of 1985 at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. Organized by Stephen LaBerge and myself, the ten sessions ran over 9 hours and covered a wide range of concerns about the study of the lucid dream. Prior to my editing these 300 pages of symposium proceedings each contributor edited their individual presentations from the verbatim transcripts.


            Deborah Jay Hillman and Patric Giesler started the day with a panel discussion on anthropological perspectives. They focused on ethnographic considera­tions when studying altered states of consciousness, including the lucid dream, in non-western cultures. This was followed by the two short talks of George Gillespie and Harry Hunt on religious and philosophi­cal origins and implications of this dream state. While Gillespie presented his personal experiences with lucidity relevant to this question, Hunt presented his theory that the lucid dream is a form of sleeping meditation.


            The third session in the day considered the lucid dream/out-of-body (OBE) issue. That is, to what extent are these two phenomena alike? The first two presenters in this symposium, Patric Giesler and Andrew Brylowski, talked about their personal ex­periences with these “two” states while the third speaker, Roy Salley, reviewed some of the scientific evidence relevant to this issue.


            I then gave a short talk summarizing my research into personality differences associated with the dream lucidity ability. The final morning session was a panel discussion by six proficient lucid dreamers. Chaired by Stephen LaBerge, these sophisticated lucid dreamers shared their experiences with and insights into this dream.


   The afternoon session was kicked off by a short talk on the physiological mechanisms of lucid dreaming by Stephen LaBerge. Four short papers by Andrew Brylowski, Pierre Etevenon, Harry Hunt and Joe Dane highlighted key issues in the consideration of the psychophysiological basis of the lucid dream. The third afternoon session was a symposium with papers read by Tore Nielsen, Alan Moffitt and myself about research into the content of the lucid dream. Harry Hunt acted as discussant. Robert Price then chaired a panel discussion on the induction problem leading Stephen LaBerge, Christian Bouchet, Roger Ripert and Joe Dane in a lively discussion of possible solutions.


    The day ended with another panel discussion, this one chaired by Patricia Garfield, on the mental health applications of the experience of dream lucidity. Along with Garfield, Judith Malamud, Jean Campbell, Ann Syre Wiseman and Gordon Halliday shared clinical applications which they have found for dream lucidity and they speculated on other possible uses for this dream.


            As in all previous issues of Lucity Letter, the News and Notes section of this issue includes recent bibliographic additions as well as other information of interest.


            I’d like to tell you about the reorganization of Lucidity Letter. It is now published by the Lucidity Association, a nonprofit organization devoted to education and research into the lucid dream and related phenomena. The Board of Directors of this association include myself as well as Stephen LaBerge, Harry Hunt, Alan Moffitt and Mary Tuttle (secretary/treasurer). We are in the process of drawing up bylaws, forming an editorial board for Lucidity Letter and conceptualizing other projects in which the association might become involved. Regarding the latter there are tentative plans to organize an at home, lucid dream research project where participants would be asked to engage in specific tasks while lucid in their dreams. Details about this are forthcoming.


            In conclusion, I’d like to thank the many people who made this special issue of Lucidity Letter possible. First thank-you to Stephen LaBerge who helped me organize the symposium last year and to all the par­ticipants who presented and edited their work and ideas. I’d also like to extend my appreciation to the Association for the Study of Dreams and its president and 1985 conference host, Robert Van de Castle, for allowing us to hold this symposium the day before their annual convention. Laurie Parker Williams and particularly, Diane McGregor were responsible for taping the proceedings and Betty Hartline spent many hours typing edited manuscripts into the word processor. Finally, my deepest and most sincere appreciation to a person who virtually single handedly made this issue a reality, Mary Tuttle. Without her organization, enthusiasm, patience and plain hard work this issue would never have materialized.



Jayne Gackenbach, Ph.D.

Editor, Lucidity Letter


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Anthropological Perspectives on Lucid Dreaming



Deborah Jay Hillman

Graduate Faculty of the

New School for Social Research


Patric Giesler

Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man

Durham, North Carolina


Hillman: I want you to understand our situation. We’re about the most unrehearsed panel you’re going to witness today because we did not meet each other or communicate with each other until about 20 minutes ago, and I had not had any communication with either of the others who intended to be here. But for­tunately, it seems that we are able to interweave the remarks each of us had individually prepared, and are now going to attempt to do that...


            I’m going to begin by raising the question, Is “lucid dream’ a valid phenomenological category for cross- cultural research? I think that we have to be careful not to impose this Western category of experience on non-Western cultures whose phenomenological systems may be very different from our own. One of the ways that anthropologists can contribute to the study of lucidity is to provide classical ethnographic descrip­tions of dream experiences as they are defined and understood by other cultures. By “ethnographic descriptions” I mean studies which use traditional anthropological fieldwork techniques of participant-observation and open-ended interviewing. This involves either literally or figuratively living with the people of a culture, or subculture, and learning to understand the way in which they live, and ex­perience their world, from their own point of view.


            One of the current debates in our own effort to define lucidity is whether the cognitive dimension - that is, the knowledge that one is, in fact, dreaming - or the experiential dimension - the heightened state of con­sciousness that can be, and often is, achieved in lucid dreaming - should be the primary criterion for calling a dream “lucid.” I think it’s conceivable that, in another culture, the significant factor in an experience involving both of these characteristics might be the particular content of the dream itself. For example, an experience of meeting an ancestor could be what is culturally defined as the significant or important factor. Being conscious in a dream, or aware that one is dreaming, might not be considered remarkable, but the information imparted by the dream figure who is encountered might be regarded as important. These are just speculations on what is possible. The less ethnocentric we are in approaching the inner worlds of people in other cultures, the better able we are to gain insight into the cultural influences that shape and define those worlds. And cross-cultural insight is a valuable means of better understanding our own perspective.



Giesler: I agree and would like to chime in with a few other points. In an article in the last Lucidity Letter (LL, 4(1), 12-14), Walter and Denton point out the same, or a similar, difficulty that Deborah is talking about. That is, you go to a culture, and you want to do an ethnographic description of a particular series of dream experiences. You are especially interested in lucidity. But they may only have had non-lucid dreams, yet they may describe their dreams in terms that are very much like lucidity - because of something like sub-cultural demand characteristics. For example, if they belong to a cult, or are of some institutionalized belief set, it may be very important to have that kind of experience or to narrate the experience in that fashion. Thus, there may arise a formation of local narrative around certain inter­pretations, certain ways of describing dreams even if you haven’t had those dreams you describe. Now that might sound like lying or deceiving to you, but if you are in another culture and you are totally absorbed in a movement, or cult, or some ritualistic context, then there ensues an extreme pressure to fit the format and a concomitant unconsciously directed dismissal of the process. Hence, the researcher may obtain con­siderable data pertaining to out-of-the-body experiences, lucid dreams, and so forth, but these may represent the ideal and not the real. They may well be dictated by “subcultural demand characteristics.”


            In addition to the Walter and Denton article about the Hung Chinese, I understand that Joan Walls, who will be reporting later at the conference on her work with Chinese students (mainland China), encountered very similar methodological issues. There is an air of modernization in China, a kind of ambiance of “we mustn’t talk about things that aren’t practical” - the “mystical” things. “That was the old way, that was the Old China. So why are you interested in dreams; why do you want to ask about that? That’s ridiculous!” Whether or not that attitude could in fact alter the dream experience would be a different question. But in terms of collecting data about it, it certainly does influence or bias the collection process and that should be taken into account.


Hillman: I think that’s very important. Furthermore, not only is it possible that the characteristics of lucid dreaming, as we define it, could occur and yet not be considered important, but it’s also possible that a report could be given in which the characteris­tics that we define as lucid dreaming appear to have been present but in fact, experientially, did not occur.


            Also, anthropological fieldwork methods lend them­selves to studies in the context of Western culture, including American society. This, too, is an area in which anthropology has a very important contribution to make to dream research. Research on dreaming in Western culture, and certainly in American culture, has been virtually ignored in the ethnographic litera­ture, and there’s a very good reason for this. Anthropologists are products of their own culture, just like everyone else, and the low status of dreams in our culture has meant that anthropologists simply have not thought of dreams as very important. However, there are many societies in which dreams do have a central, social function to fill. And anthropologists, in the course of their fieldwork, pay attention to dreams in those cultures because anthropologists pay attention to whatever is impor­tant, in a particular culture, to the people of that culture. But in American society, anthropological dream research is an area which is wide open and barely touched at this point. I think that a great deal needs to be learned about the phenomenology of lucid dreaming in America, and there are many other questions that lend themselves to an ethnographic inquiry, such as: How is the phenomenon of lucidity handled in dream group settings?, and, Does lucid dreaming play a role in the development of personal philosophies or world views?


Giesler: You mentioned that the anthropologist is influenced by his or her own culture, and that this influence extends into the research domain (i.e., when he or she goes into another culture to do a study). That amount of influence is going to be of methodological importance in terms of how reliable the data are that you collect, because if you influence the object of your study, imposing, for instance, your own theoretical constructs, then of course you will only be collecting certain kinds of data. If dreams are not so important in anthropological literature, or there is a question as to how one connects dream studies to maintain anthropological theories, then when anthropologists go out to the field setting, it is likely that dreaming will be very secondary or tangential to their research aims. This is under­standable; one cannot research everything. But problems do emerge later on in cross-cultural studies and should be taken into account in any assessment of such studies.


            For example, an anthropologist by the name of Dean Sheils from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse wrote quite an extensive article on a cross-cultural survey he did about out-of-the-body experiences. It was published in 1978 in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. He took samples of ethnographies of different cultures from a very large collection of ethnographies of cultures all over the world, called the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF). With HRAF you sample 100 or 200 ethnographies so that you are catching various world areas, and then you compare the reports of certain phenomena or assess the relationship of socioeconomic or other variables to the phenomena of interest. It is a helpful tool, but there are several problems involved with it. Sheils was interested in the incidence of OBE’s reported. In his analysis, for instance, one must ask if the ethnographer of each culture sampled was interested in out-of-the-body experiences? How much research energy did he put into it, if any? In one case in his sur­vey, for example, that of the Isnag tribe, the particular anthropologist whose ethnography was chosen for the HRAF collection doesn’t report any instances of out-of-the-body experiences at all. Most other cultures did and that was the main point of the article. And he goes on to make other points regard­ing the presence/absence of OBEs. A few years ago a colleague of mine (Murray, 1981) went to study the Isnag tribe. It’s a very isolated group and there have been few cultural changes over the years. She went specifically to study out-of-the-body experiences with the Isnag and to compare these with various control tribal groups in the outlying areas. She obtained a very high incidence of out-of-the-body experiences among the Isnag. I’m not trying to say

that she’s right, and that the HRAF ethnographer was wrong, or anything of that kind. We have to analyze what she might have been imposing, how she was phras­ing questions, or what demand characteristics were involved in her procedure for interviewing. But as far as I know from her particular technique, it was well done and organized, and was very sensitive to translation problems (i.e., how to present her survey questions). At any rate, the highly divergent reports from the HRAF ethnographer and from my colleague underscore the issue I am presenting here - that you can’t rely on a lot of anthropological material in areas of secondary interest such as dreams or OBEs. One must be cautious with cross-cultural studies or comparisons of such phenomena. It’s a complex issue, and ultimately depends on the research intentions and interests of the particular anthropologist going out to study a particular culture.


Hillman: You again raised a complementary issue that is important. Not only is there a lack of research on dreams in American culture (and in Western culture generally), for the reason that I mentioned, but there has been a lack of research on dreams in non-Western cultures where dreams are not “obvious” in the social pattern. We have a phrase which is probably familiar to all of you because it appears in the popular as well as the anthropological literature – more so in the popular literature, I think - and that phrase is “dream culture.” Often those cultures which have a very high regard for dreams - the American Indian cultures, for example - are referred to as “dream cultures.” This is a reference to their degree of involvement with dreams, and yet it’s really an ethnocentric point of view. They are “dream cultures” by comparison with Western culture in which dreams have such a low status. But from the point of view of those cultures, dreams are not outstandingly significant in their lives - no more so than many other aspects of social and cultural life. In other words, although dreams play a significant role in many aspects of their ritual and social life, these are not “dream cultures,” per se, except by our standards; that is, from a Western point of view.


            I also want to mention another reason for carrying out interdisciplinary collaborations in studying dreams, lucid or otherwise, in our society. That is the fact that there are some populations which, for one reason or another, are not going to be tapped by questionnaire survey methods, or they’re not going to fit into what you might call the “culture of the dream lab.” The very elderly, for example, may have special needs that preclude spending a night in a sleep lab. Furthermore, there is a need for bilingual research­ers, or for interpreters, at least, in our ethnically diverse society, so that non-English-speaking people are included as informants, or subjects, in dream research. In addition, there is a need to understand cultural norms of communication, and of dream sharing, that differ from one’s own. In order to gather the kind of data that anthropologists, and other dream researchers, are interested in, it is necessary to develop rapport with an informant or a subject, and in order to develop rapport, one needs to be sensitive to cultural norms which may differ from one’s own in terms of styles of communication and questioning, etc. Anthropologists can help by addressing these issues.


Giesler: I don’t have any further comments on that. Perhaps we could present some ethnographic data at this point. Do you have other issues you would like to bring up first?


Hillman: As you can see, I’m prepared to speak primarily about some of the methodological and theoretical considerations involved in creating an “anthropology of dreams,” and I think it’s wonderful that Patric is going to complement that with some

actual ethnographic data. Another point I want to raise concerns theory. In the 19th century, the anthropologist, E. B. Tylor, thought that the widespread belief in the wandering of the spirit during sleep was inferred from the nature of dream imagery. He thought that because dreams often involve encounters with persons who have died, and visits to faraway places, this widespread belief must have come into being as a result of logical deduction, based on these common features of dream experience.


            I would like to suggest that, in light of contemporary knowledge of lucid dreaming in Western society, a new question arises; namely, might this widespread belief in the spirit’s autonomy during sleep - in its separa­tion from the physical body - have a basis in the direct experience of becoming “awake,” or conscious, within the dream? That is, might it have an experien­tial basis rather than a deductive one? I merely suggest that as a theoretical possibility. And in general, I want to suggest that anthropology can make contributions to dream theory, as well as to dream research methodology and to the growing body of data on the experience of dreaming. And I think that Patric has quite a bit to say about some of the data he has collected.


Giesler: I have not done any research on dreaming or lucid dreams. My work has been primarily concerned with certain initiatory and divinatory mediumistic practices amongst three prominent Afro-Brazilian shamanic cults, called the Candomble, the Caboclo, and the Umbanda Cults. Before coming to the conference, I jotted down a few ideas about the trance experiences in the cults that may pertain to lucid dream or OBE research. Here, my focus will be on the Umbanda Cult research. I simply want to throw out some ideas and possible connections. Remember that all of the methodologioal cautions that we have just outlined apply to my data as well. Although I was sensitive to these issues in my research, far more thorough study will be needed to support the observations and the kind of information I will present here.


            I think that it is useful to compare the phenomenological characteristics of altered states, such as these trance states I am about to discuss, with lucid dreams (cf. Harry Hunt’s article in Lucidity Letter, 4(1), pp. 1—2, where he compares the perspective of the lucid dreamer with the perspective of the Teravada Buddhist during insight, or mindful­ness, meditation). Although it is pulling cords and stretching things a bit to make these connections, I think it can stimulate some questions regarding the mechanism or dynamics underlying both states. The two basic points that I want to bring out with these data are: (1) that there is a certain similarity between mediumistic trance states in the Umbanda (and probably in other possession trance cults as well), hypnotic trance states, and the lucid dream state; and (2) that the “inconsistency” element so often reported in lucid dream onset may have a counterpart in both certain possession trance states, and phenomenologically comparable, hypnotic trance states.


            Let me begin with a brief word about the cults. All three are called “possession trance” cults by anthropologists - ”trance,” because one observes an altered state (i.e., behaviorally it looks like an altered state or it is believed to be an altered state by the experient), and “possession,” because the actors or experients believe that they are possessed by a spirit or deity. In other terms, I am talking about ritual trance mediumship: some alternative personality (or what appears to be an alternative personality) “takes over” the medium in the ritual context and manifests. Proficiency in the trance experience and knowledge of cult matters is distin­guished by neophyte (“initiate”), advanced (“full medium”), and expert (“shaman”) levels. The cults were derived from the slave trade, much like the more well-known “Voodoo” cults in Haiti.


            In the Umbanda, three types of trance states are distinguished by adherents. They call them “unconscious,” “conscious,” and “semi-conscious” trances. In the unconscious trance, the medium is ostensibly unconscious or amnesic to the whole posses­sion trance experience, the whole event of the spirit personality taking over, controlling the body, giving consultations, dancing, or whatever else the spirit personality does in the ritual, context. The mediums do not have control of their vocal musculature, and hence do not have control over the content of the “spirit’s” speech or other behavior. When the “unconscious-trance mediums” or shamans awaken from trance or become fully conscious (when the spirit “departs”), they report that they had been dreaming, or in some cases, that they had been having what we would call an out-of-the-body experience (OBE). In the conscious and semi-conscious forms of trance, Umbanda cultists assert that one is aware that one is in trance, as one is aware in lucid dreams that one is in a dream, and the awareness often resembles normal waking consciousness.


            Lucid dreamers report a degree of control over the content of their dreams, ostensibly without a diminu­tion of the “depth” of the state. That is, they are not more awake or closer to waking consciousness than an ordinary dreamer (That is, most lucid dreams occur in REM. But some do not, and of these, a few may reflect a shift toward waking). However, the conscious control that Umbanda Cultists are able to exercise over their conscious and semi-conscious possession trance states, appears to be due, in the case of initiates, to a lack of trance depth. This is because these forms of trances ordinarily represent developmental phases before the full unconscious trance stage of mediumship. At the later stages in their development, when they are functioning as advanced unconscious-trance mediums and shamans, they may learn to shift from their unconscious possession trance into con­scious or semi-conscious forms of trance without jeopardizing depth. Thus, here, the similarity to the lucid dream state is stronger. Some Umbanda shamans and advanced mediums attest that they are then able to attain an awareness that resembles waking conscious­ness with (a) a recognition that they are indeed in trance; (b) a degree of influence or control over the trance activity (i.e., the spirit personality’s speech or behaviors); and (c) a trance depth comparable to that of unconscious trance, since the spirit per­sonality manifestation proceeds equally stably with or without their conscious input.


            Another interesting characteristic of these conscious and semi-conscious trance experiences is that they may be sustained or caused by the recognition of an inconsistency much like the recognition of an inconsistency that seems to generate a great many lucid dreams. For instance, the initiate’s impression of possession trance when he or she first experiences it is dominated by an inconsistency between, on the one hand, being so aware or conscious, and yet on the other hand, suddenly not having complete normal con­trol. “If I can feel aware as I normally do, then how can I be possessed,” they ask? Most often they are participating in a ritual ceremony when they first experience the “inconsistency” or “bizarreness” ele­ment of conscious trance. They are observing, clapping, and chanting while the developed mediums are entranced and perhaps their possessing spirit per­sonalities are giving consultations or divinations. The initiate watches the mediums, somewhat removed, and then suddenly, experiences one of his arms moving in a way that is culturally prescribed for a par­ticular type of spirit possession. The initiate exclaims to himself, “My god, that’s ridiculous; I’ll just put my arm down!” But, he finds that he cannot. Although he is totally aware of what is going on, his arm is in the position taken during spirit possession. “I can’t be possessed, because I’m aware. But then I can’t be fully aware (i.e., in control) because I can’t move my arm.” Hence, for the initiate, like for the lucid dreamer in the lucid dream state, the per­ception of an inconsistency is a concomitant of the early trance experience and may play a role in its induction.


            The initiate’s early trance experiences, or “stage” of trance, if viewed developmentally, are comparable to the early stages of hypnotic trance induction. In heterohypnosis, for instance, suggestibility tests or techniques are often used at the beginning or before the formal induction. In one most common suggest­ibility test, called “arm raising,” it is suggested that the subject’s arm is getting lighter and lighter. The subject is fully conscious, and if the test is successful (the arm raises as if by itself), the subject is appalled: “My God, that’s incredible! I can’t be hypnotized, because I am fully conscious; yet how could this happen?” The subject is conscious, but with a certain lack of control. Thus, it is a situa­tion analogous to what happens to the Umbanda initiate, and is again reminiscent of the lucid dreamer’s state and experience of an inconsistency.


            Also, in both the contexts of Umbanda ritual and hypnosis, there is a second party who validates these early trances and assures the experient that his experiences are perfectly normal and expected. In hypnosis the second party, of course, is the hyp­notist, or operator, who reassures the subject: “Yes, you’re doing fine; all is going well; and you are responding well.” In the Umbanda rituals, the second party is the shaman or other advanced mediums in the context, who knowingly affirm to the initiate that, “Yes, that is how the spirit first takes hold. Don’t resist him and he will come more strongly each time.”


            The initiate, as with the hypnosis subject, comes to understand that his experience is not an “inconsistency,” but rather just a beginning in a process. As the initiate (and similarly the subject) comes to perceive his experience less as “inconsistent” or “bizarre” and more as “consistent” with another way of viewing his experience, he enters into an unconscious form of possession trance. In time he may learn to be reflective, to be able to come out of the unconscious trance to a semi-conscious or conscious form of trance, as many Umbanda shamans report that they can do.


            It is here that I find another connection with lucid dreams. When the shaman is in unconscious trance, he is unconscious to the spirit personality’s activities and experiences meanwhile a dream, or dream—like state. Some even report having OBEs at this time as I said earlier (This simultaneous operation of two consciousnesses, the spirit’s and the medium’s, may be analogous to other, more familiar, dissociative states such as “automatic writing,” where while one hand writes eloquent poetry about the universe, the writer chit chats with a friend about a baseball game without giving the writing his slightest attention). When the shamans, who are dreaming during unconscious trance, move from that state to a conscious, or semi-conscious trance, they essentially pass from a dreaming state to a “lucid trance” state, since, as I mentioned earlier, they become not only aware of their trance state and the manifesting spirit personality, they are also able to exact some influence, inhibitions, or direction to the spirit’s speech and other behaviours. Hence, the shaman’s shift  from  dreaming in  trance to lucidity in trance resembles the dreamer’s shift from ordinary dreaming in sleep to lucid dreaming in sleep. Usually, the shaman will return to unconscious trance and continue dreaming.


            I do not know what it is in the shaman’s dreaming at this time that instigates his entrance into lucid trance; nor do I know if there is any kind of relationship between the content of the dreams and the content of the possessing spirit personality’s speech or activities in the ritual context. In a few in­stances, I knew that a shaman was concerned about certain clients who were to consult his spirit (i.e., consult his spirit personality). Perhaps these con­cerns left him “on edge” as he entered his unconscious possession trance, and thus “awoke” him occasionally to a lucid trance, somewhat in the same way that pressing concerns or worries will awaken anyone peri­odically during the night from normal sleep. Only that in this case the shaman did not awaken to normal consciousness. Also, I have no data on an element of “inconsistency” arising during the shaman’s trance dreaming that could engender his “false awakening” into semi-conscious or conscious trance. Rather, it appears that in most cases, the shamans have simply learned how to move between the Umbanda forms of trance, as needed. Hence the element of “inconsistency” played a role in their early ex­periences of conscious or semi-conscious trance (as initiates), but eventually that element became one of “consistency.” This also appears to be the case for experienced lucid dreamers, who have learned how to enter into lucid dreaming, but without reliance on the startling recognition of an inconsistency.


            In hypnosis one may induce a shift from a deep (i.e., amnesic) trance that is perhaps analogous to the shaman’s “unconscious trance,” to a trance in which the subject becomes aware of his state, is not amnesic to his experience, and begins to take some control, somewhat like an Umbanda shaman’s semi-conscious or conscious trance or a dreamer’s lucid state. This is accomplished with the introduction of an “inconsistency” during the hypnosis. “Depth,” by criteria dependent on absorption in the task, such as hypnotic dreaming, is not lightened, and the spon­taneous emergence of control in an otherwise heterohypnotic rapport is striking. For instance, I have induced hypnotic dreams in subjects to deepen their absorption or trance, and this is most success­ful until I give a suggestion that contradicts their suggestibility level and which they cannot accept at that point. That contradiction is perceived as an inconsistency and either awakens the subject entirely, or induces a type of “lucid trance.”


            `Let me give you a specific example. On one occasion I hypnotized a subject and suggested a dream of a bicycle trip, something he very much enjoyed. This was a particularly good hypnotic subject with whom I had conducted several previous sessions and achieved deep levels of trance (e.g., hypnotic local anesthesia for the extraction of two wisdom teeth; negative visual hallucinations; etc.) He brought a friend, Paulo, to this session, and Paulo sat either in the same room or just outside it during the hypnosis. As always with this subject, each re-hypnosis brought him more quickly and easily to deep levels of trance, and the dream bicycle trip succeeded in engaging his full absorption. He literally pumped with his legs on an imaginary bicycle and held out his arms to grasp the “handle bars” and to steer through a beautiful countryside.


            At one point I said, “Oh look, it seems that someone’s coming up over the hill ahead towards us...” “Oh yes, there is.” he responded, and leaned forward as if straining to see who it was. “In fact,” I added, “it’s Paulo!” But the subject’s response was unexpected. Hearing me say that Paulo was riding a bicycle in his dream, when in reality Paulo was sit­ting somewhere near us, struck the subject as an impossible inconsistency. He laughed, realizing then that the bicycle trip was only a hypnotic dream, and exclaimed, “Are you kidding?! That can’t be Paulo, he’s here...” I assumed that the subject had come out of the trance, but he continued bicycling. I quickly added, “Yes, you must be right, who is that coming toward us?” He said he wasn’t sure and couldn’t make him out yet. I discovered later that Paulo didn’t ride a bicycle and that the subject knew no one who did. Hence, my suggestion struck the subject as particularly strange. Yet, paradoxically, seeing himself on a bicycle in the country while, in fact he was sitting next to me in a room, did not, on the other hand seem inconsistent to him. Similarly, it is a particular element in an ordinary dream that the dreamer finds inconsistent and that subsequently falsely awakens him to lucid dreaming; whereas other elements of the dream do not seem inconsistent. It appears that it’s a question of what the dreamer feels could or could not happen in an otherwise realistic situation that determines which element will strike him as bizarre. Yet, certainly, many non-realistic or “bizarre” events in dreams do not evoke lucidity.


            In any case, my subject continued fully absorbed with the bicycle trip dream, but with an “awakened” consciousness. Now, contrary to our previous hypnotic rapport, he chose which of my suggestions he would accept and which he preferred to alter. Also, he took a greater measure of control over the creation of his dream. It appeared then, that, he had become “lucid” in his hypnotic trance dreaming. He became aware of this hypnotic state and dreaming through the recogni­tion of an inconsistency, and in the alteration of our rapport, he took more control and was able to manipu­late his trance experience.


            Perhaps now I could close with an hypothesis concern­ing all of the states discussed. Let us begin with the hypnosis example above. I propose that the ele­ment of “inconsistency” in my suggestion drove my subject into a form of spontaneous autohypnosis. For, there emerged a marked and significant difference from our usual heterohypnosis in terms of the subject’s awareness of his state, his own shaping of his trance experience. If this is true, spontaneous autohypnosis may also more aptly describe the shaman’s phenomenologically similar conscious or semi-conscious trance state, when he has entered it from dreaming during unconscious trance. In this state the shaman is aware of his trance: depth is maintained and he may exert a degree of influence or control over aspects of his trance experience. The Umbanda initiate, although entering conscious or semi-conscious trance from ordinary consciousness, may also be shifting into a state with the autohypnotic attributes of a trance with awareness resembling waking consciousness and a degree of control or influence.


            Finally, when the ordinary dreamer shifts into lucid dreaming and experiences both an awareness that he is dreaming and a degree of control over the dream state, he may actually be shifting spontaneously into a “conscious” or “semi-conscious” form of autohypnosis. It may be that the sudden appearance and recognition of a “bizarre” or “inconsistent” element in all of these altered states experiences induces the false awakening and lucidity that generally characterize a deep level of spontaneous autohypnosis. With time and practice, some may learn how to enter these lucid states of autohypnosis more easily and frequently as is the case with expert hypnotic subjects, the Umbanda shamans, and experienced lucid dreamers. In sum, whether or not my hypothesis is valid, or overly speculative, I think that it behooves us to evaluate, comparatively, shifts of consciousness and degrees of control in possession trance and in ordinary and hypnotic dreaming and the role of certain features therein to induce shifts to lucidity.


Hillman: I think that it’s wonderful that you brought this data out because it illustrates that cross-cultural studies of consciousness - and when I say “cross-cultural” I don’t mean just non-Western - can really help us to get a feeling for the “looseness,” and overlapping nature, of our own phenomenological categories. They help us get a perspective on the fact that they’re really not discreet, “objective” categories of consciousness. I think this is one of the important functions of cross-cultural studies of consciousness: helping us to understand the nature of our own phenomenological categories better.


            I want to quickly make one more point about doing fieldwork in American culture. I think it’s important to highlight the significance of the dream work move­ment which is a grassroots social phenomenon currently taking place in American culture, and in other parts of Western society as well. It is a movement to make dreams more important, socially and culturally, and the academic segment of this movement is an outgrowth of the grassroots effort that has been evolving. The dream work movement sets the stage for raising the “dream consciousness” of anthropologists, along with others in the society, and as a result I think that we’re going to see a proliferation of anthropological dream research in the next decade.


            I think it’s a valuable thing for anthropologists doing fieldwork on dreams, particularly in our own culture, to have an experiential background, and that’s certainly something that the dream work move­ment can provide. Being familiar with the language and meaning of your own dreams, and with the qualita­tive variations in consciousness that can occur during dreaming (since dreaming is not, in fact, a unitary state but a multi-dimensional one) enables greater sensitivity to the emotional and cognitive aspects of talking about dreams with informants. The result is enhanced rapport with informants and also the pos­sibility of more accurate interpretation of the information that’s given.


            We did not review the anthropological literature on dreaming, and for those of you who are interested, let me mention that the best survey of current anthropological approaches to dreams is contained in a special issue of Ethos, the journal put out by the Society for Psychological Anthropology. It includes a paper by Barbara Tedlock who was to be the chair of this panel but who was not able to be with us today. Her paper is an excellent example of ethnographic fieldwork on a system of dream interpretation in a non-Western culture, in this case the Quiche Maya of the Guatemalan highlands. You may also be interested in knowing about the Association for the Anthropological Study of Consciousness and the Association for Transpersonal Anthropology, both of which are organizations involved in the study of consciousness from an anthropological perspective.


Note: The Winter 1981 issue of Ethos (Vol. 9, No. 4), a special issue devoted to dreams, is available for $6.00 from the Society for Psychological Anthropology, 1703 New Hampshire Avenue, N. W., Washington, D. C. 10009.


For information on membership in the Association for the Anthropological Study of Consciousness (AASC) write to: Priscilla Lee, 145 Grove Drive, Portola Valley, CA 94025.


For information on membership in the Association for Transpersonal Anthropology, Intl. (ATAI), contact: Shirley Lee, 2001 Tibbits Avenue, Troy, NY 12180.




Murray, D. D. (1982) A survey on psi and related phenomena in the Philippines. In W. G. Rall, R. L. Morris, and R. A. White (Eds.), Research in Parapshchology 1981, (pp. 186—187). Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press.


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Ordinary Dreams, Lucid Dreams and Mystical Experience



George Gillespie

Dept. of Oriental Studies

University of Pennsylvania


            It is difficult to give a definition of mystical experience that would satisfy every scholar. I use the expression mystical experience to mean an apparent experience of some reality greater than oneself that come by transcending to some degree awareness of one’s own physical and mental self and one’s physical surroundings. This reality may be understood as God or some other spiritual being, brahman, Being, the universe, oneness, the void, or nirvana. I would distinguish for my purposes here between the phenomenon that is seen as the mystical experience itself and other more incidental phenomena that precede or accompany the mystical experience, such as visions of disks of light, the feeling of levitation, or bliss.


            I believe that the phenomena reported in mystical accounts, whether essential to the mystical experience or incidental to it, can often be understood in terms of dreaming, particularly lucid dreaming, that is dreams in which the dreamer knows he or she is dreaming. Let me be clear that I accept neither ordinary dreaming nor lucid dreaming to be mystical experience. But there is an observable continuum from ordinary dreaming through lucid dreaming to phenomena of mysticism. Just as lucid dreaming may develop out of ordinary dreaming, phenomena associated with mysti­cal experience may develop out of lucid dreaming, particularly such phenomena as visions of darkness or light, the elimination of objects of consciousness, or apparent experience of God.


            I base my observation on my own experience with frequent lucid dreams over a period of years. My main concern here is to show the progression from ordinary dreaming through lucid dreaming to the phenomena of mysticism, not to examine the phenomena in detail.


            When I fall asleep I lose perception of the external world. A combination of visions, locutions and physi­cal sensations serve as alternates to waking perception. I forget almost everything. My rationality is limited. What I know is not based on my perception or memory or rationality. I act and speak spontaneously. My dreams are often unusual, confusing, ambiguous and difficult to remember. Often a dream leaves me with a feeling of its importance, but I am unable to express what happened. Dreams are often ineffable.


            Ordinary dreams are not mystical experience even though they may have some of the characteristics of mystical experience - loss of perception of the exter­nal world, visions, locutions, loss of memory and rationality, spontaneous knowledge, and ineffability. I still experience images that originate in and appear in myself. Although I have apparently transcended awareness of my physical surroundings, I have not transcended myself.


            At times I become lucid in a dream, that is I come to know I am dreaming. This often happens in dreams in which I think a little more clearly than usual or dreams that are brighter or clearer that usual. My memory, if it improves at all, improves only slightly. I am still much closer to ordinary dream mental capabilities than to waking ones. And I am still not aware of my physical surroundings or circumstances. I may either continue acting and reacting spontaneously as in ordinary dreams, or I may purposefully make changes in the dream.


            Lucid dreaming is not in itself mystical, even though I can bring about many changes in the dream that make it very different from ordinary dreaming. For in­stance, once I know I am dreaming, I may proceed to fly, I may sing a hymn or pray with no inhibition, or I may hug a threatening beast fearlessly and domesti­cate it. But I have not yet transcended my mental activity or the images that I produce.


            When I know I am dreaming I can act purposefully to eliminate my mental activity and dream images, the two being closely related. If I can think to do so, I can close my (dreamed) eyes to eliminate visual images. This produces darkness. I still need to eliminate the remaining aural and tactual images, body awareness and the mental activity that produces the images. To do this I must detach myself from the remaining on-going dream manifestations and concentrate my attention on the darkness which is so to speak before my eyes. This is often not easy to do because voices speak to me, dogs bark, hands grab at me and other manifesta­tions disturb me that I call entanglements.


            If all goes well, as I concentrate I gradually lose awareness of my dreamed body - the feeling of being supported (on the ground or whatever), the lower part of the body, then the upper part of the body, and last of all the area around the eyes, which is the area most in my awareness. What I lose awareness of no longer exists in the dream. In this way I approach the elimination of all dream imaging.


            But as I concentrate, many other things can happen instead of my gradually losing body awareness. Normally while dreaming I feel as attached to the ground or the floor or whatever supports me as I do when awake. But when I start to concentrate my atten­tion away from my body I lose awareness of my attachment to the ground. Almost invariably I then feel my legs rise up in front of me and I float up involuntarily. (I think of that as losing my anchor.) This is levitation. Levitation often precedes the very realistic sensation of shooting through the air at great speed, which has been called in mystical literature “the flight of the spirit.” This levita­tion and flight, which I have experienced outside of the dream context as well, that is in a condition seeming to be between sleeping and being awake, are essential elements of what is called out-of-body experience (a phrase I prefer to avoid).


            Sometimes when I float or toss about I see lights in patterns, with color and movement. These patterns of light have appeared only after I have set about to disrupt the dreaming process by closing my eyes and concentrating, that is only when I am lucid. At times I have seen a disk of light of no set size usually appearing in the darkness that I have brought about, but at times in the context of the visual dream environment. I have seen disks of light only in the lucid dream context. Disks of light are occasionally mentioned in mystical literature. However, my ex­perience of the disk has not been religious.


            If conditions permit me to concentrate for long without entanglements, without floating or any added sense experience, I gradually lose body awareness and approach the total elimination of objects of consciousness. Mental activity ceases. I have reached this point of pure consciousness, but have not held onto it that I know of. Inasmuch as sense aware­ness and mental activity have ceased, I have transcended my physical and mental self. By inter­pretation after the event this may be considered a mystical state - the experience of brahman, the void, or what one may. But there is no religious feeling and no interpretation at the time. I can eliminate dreaming only if I am lucid - only if I proceed without problems with particular methods similar to those used in certain meditative traditions. Let me add that I used these methods without precise knowledge or study of particular procedures.


            The final phenomenon is the fullness of light. This light has appeared only while I dreamed lucidly, but it has not been brought about obviously by my own action. It has appeared while I was in darkness or in a significant room or while engaged in religious activity. It usually appears like the sun moving down from above my head until all I see is brilliant light. There remain no images. I become aware of the presence of God and feel spontaneous great joy. As long as I direct my attention to the light, I gradually lose awareness of my dreamed body.


            To lose awareness of myself and my dream images in the evident presence of God, is to experience transcen­dence of myself. This is the experience, whatever the explanation. Fullness of light, awareness of God, gradual loss of awareness of myself, joy (often called bliss), and uncontrollable devotion are phenomena mentioned commonly in mystical literature. These experiences of mine have proceeded only out of the context of lucid dreaming.


            My purpose has been to show my progression from ordi­nary dreaming through lucid dreaming to phenomena found in reports of mystical experience. I have not intended to make a statement on the meaning of these experiences, nor of mystical experience in general.


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Lucid Dreams and Meditation



Harry T. Hunt

Psychology Dept., Brock University

St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada


            A problem with many studies of lucid dreams is their theoretical and empirical insularity-a lucid dream, apparently, is a lucid dream is a lucid dream. Of course things are always uniquely themselves, but to see what something means, it is necessary to try to place it in the broader context of its natural series with related phenomena.


            So it is with lucid dreams. A lucid dream, of course, is knowing you dream while the dream is actually going on. It is sometimes seen as an approximation in the dream to our waking cognitive faculties, but that is doubtful since it makes it sound like lucidity is necessarily unique to dreaming and experienced lucid dreamers do report confusions of thought and memory that are characteristic of the rest of dreaming. Rather lucid dreams are as different from ninety percent of waking experience as they are from ninety percent of dreaming. They share with out-of-body experience, near death experience, and especially with meditation, a special sense of clarity, exhilaration, and freedom (reminiscent of Maslow on “peak experience”) that comes with emergence of a detached receptive attitude in the midst of our more narrow everyday involvements - whether dreamt or real. Lucid dreams are a spontaneous form of the state sought within the so called “insight” or “mindfulness” meditative traditions. They transform dreams in the same way that meditation transforms wakefulness. Meditation is privileged in this comparative series because we now know so much about it from the point of view of very different theories and methods. If this comparison is useful, then not only will meditation cast a uniquely clarifying light on lucid dreams, but lucid dreams will help us with otherwise obscure points about the nature and goals of meditation.


            For instance, the first problem we come to is that we do commonly associate meditative practice not with a balance between what Deikman calls the receptive or observing self and ongoing involvements, but with isolation and withdrawal. But only in its early stages. The “mindfulness” or “basic witness” set is so hard to develop and goes so against the grain of ordinary participations that most traditions begin in the maximally simplified context of “just sitting.” Once stabilized, however, many traditions try to extend mindfulness practice into first simple, then more complex activities – as wellas into ordinary dreaming and sleep. Accordingly, more and more of the meditator’s life approximates the qualities of a lucid dream - involved, yet detached and observing at once, with the resultant subjective sense of “clarity” and “being.” The best illustration of this attempt to be “lucid” during normal waking activities is found in the Gurdjieff-Ouspensky teachings - which reject ordi­nary “withdrawn” meditation altogether and cultivate a continuous sense of “self remembering” in the midst of everyday settings, where otherwise we lose ourselves and forget that we are alive. That is, the full context to which successful “self remembering” wakes us up in the form of a “being” or “I am” experience that does sound like dream lucidity.


            Of course some of the best evidence for equating lucidity and meditation comes from the development of lucid dreams in advanced Tibetan Buddhist practice - which they understand as the form of meditation available during sleep. The recognized dream is to be transmuted in various ways and one also attempts to understand ongoing waking experience as itself a dream - both of these being an aid to realizing the nonsubstantial, open bases of all experience. Dream meditation on the immediate thatness of the dream experience leads to a direct insight into the way that things are at once definitely formed and clear, yet open, empty, and illusory - which is not so much the expression of a metaphysic as a phenomenological description of what results from “turning around” on immediate experience for its own sake. For instance, similar descriptions come from the early introspectionists’ studies of William James, Titchener, and Carl Rahn.


            My colleagues and I at Brock have recently reported phenomenological, psychophysiological, and correla­tional links between lucid dreaming and meditation.

With Bob Ogilvie and Paul Tyson, we found heightened EEG alpha with pre-lucid, relatively bizarre dreams and evidence that experienced lucid dreamers may show a mixed organismic state - transitional between the states of sleep and waking. But I concentrate here on a study with Barbara McLeod in which we found sig­nificantly more lucidity in long term meditators and its correlation with years of meditative practice. Along these lines, my student Roc Villeneuve has just found a correlation between lucid-control dreams and intensity of response to a meditative technique taught to them within the experiment. In the study with long term meditators we also found that just as waking meditative practice eventually leads to the release of major alterations of consciousness such as white light or luminosity experiences, so there were significant associations between degree of lucidity and archetypal/psychedelic dream content rarely seen in normative samples - such as geometric/mandala patterns, encounters with archetypal figures, and various luminosity phenomena of the kind also described by George Gillespie and Scott Sparrow. Since there is no association at all between degree of lucidity and deliberate attempts to change one’s dreaming toward lucidity, it may well be that dream lucidity and control develop automatically as the result of long term meditation. We were especially interested to find that some of our subjects were not sure them­selves how to categorize their highly unusual dreams -  they sometimes could not tell whether they had awakened and were spontaneously meditating or whether they were asleep and having what we had defined for them as a lucid dream.


            Now that I’ve worked to define lucid dreams as a form of meditative state - in terms of their double aware­ness of context and specific involvements, and the resulting sense of clarity and exhilaration, I should return to the relativities of defining anything in its essence - because one of my own dreams recently showed me that as important as such attempts at generic classification may be, a dream could fit all these descriptive criteria and still not actually be lucid. I dreamt I had returned to a small house full of sleeping cots called the “rest house.” I was about to lie down when a disembodied but familiar voice said “You’re acting like you really think you’re in the rest house, but you’re not, you know. Try and figure out where you really are.” Fascinated, I looked about me with the sharpened sense of clarity and excitement that I associate with my own, all too few lucid dreams. I knew things weren’t as they seemed and I stared at the walls waiting for them to collapse into my “real” surroundings. But they just got more and more crystalline and radiating until I woke up. Slightly chastened, I realized that it had never occurred to me that I might be dreaming, although it was a spontaneous meditative-like state. Now there is no getting around the fact that lucidity has to be defined as knowing you dream, but I would still sug­gest that that is not why we study lucid dreams. We study them because of the valued subjective effects usually (but by no means, always) released by lucidity and dream control. A common underlying cognition between lucid dreams and meditation is implied by the way that meditation gradually extends itself into dreaming as lucidity and the way that developed lucid dreams become more and more visionary and oriented toward a spiritual interpretation of life.


            In fact I would argue that part of the traditional “function” of any seriously held spiritual belief is to create the “lucid” sense that we are simultaneously part of this world and its doings and yet detached from it by virtue of a broader intell­igence of context - which does normally elude us. Consider what we call the “belief” in reincarnation: One is in a particular life but it is as if a dream when sensed as one in a long series of such lives, and yet it is also utterly important in determining how those future lives will be lived. Even secular exist­entialism creates much the same dual awareness. Such beliefs help to convey the experience of “being”, while lucid dreams and meditative states can directly elicit this same sense of context - one which clearly requires its own specific cognitive psychology.




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

Diekman, A. (1982). Preobserving self. Boston: Beacon Press.

Hunt, H. & McCleod, B. Lucid preforming as a medita­tive state. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Hunt, H. & Ogilvie, B. (in press). Lucid dreams in their natural series, In J. Gackenbach and S. LaBerge (Eds.), Lucid dreaming: New research on consciousness during sleep. New York: Plenum.

Oligvie, B., Hunt, H., Tyson, P., Lucescu, H. & Jenkins, D. (1982). Lucid dreaming and alpha activity. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 55, 795-808.


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The Relationship Between The Out-Of-Body Experience and Lucid Dreaming: A Personal Account



Patric Giesler

Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man

Durham, North Carolina


            Let me begin with a brief abstract, followed by a full description of a personal experience that I think might bring out some of the problems and issues in the definitions of lucid dreams and out-of-the-body ex­periences (OBEs). The experience entailed a series of OBEs in which I was not only aware that I was having an OBE, and thus aware I was dreaming, but also I had full control of the onset, duration, and the end, or that is, the return to the body, of each OBE. I was also aware of my sleeping body’s position. However, in the continuing transition in and out of my body in the series of OBEs, I felt that my real body might actually be floating at times or doing something abnormal or, perhaps, paranormal. Thus, I wanted to contact the outside world (in this case it was a housemate) to verify if in fact I was floating in the world of the waking state. This effort to reach the outside world induced a transitional state in which I wavered between something like waking and sleeping consciousness.


            Now here are the details. I had just come back from the movie “Poltergeist.” One particular scene in Poltergeist” became central to my experience. This was the scene where “forces” from some other dimension were going in and out of a large TV screen. It drew into the TV and then blew out with a power that burned holes in the walls and so forth. Apparently I had this on my mind somewhere when I retired for the night. Another preliminary detail was that it was too hot to sleep in my upstairs bedroom on this particular hot summer night, so I decided to sleep downstairs in the living room on the floor where it was cooler. I laid on my back with a light sheet over me. A very large stereo speaker was set behind me, right behind my head, but at an angle; that’s an important detail.


            After going to sleep I became aware of the cover over my chest, or at least I dreamt awareness of it, and of my right hand grasping it and pushing it down, prob­ably because I was feeling hot. As I did so, I felt my body being sucked toward the speaker. I didn’t make the connection in the dream between the force sucking me into the speaker and the force drawing into the TV screen in the movie, Poltergeist. My “suction” toward the speaker was at an angle, as I said, because the speaker wasn’t directly behind me. Due to that angle, I felt I was beginning to spin or go into a rotation. Once the rotation began the impetus or inertia would allow the rotating to continue past the speaker. At the perception of my body spinning toward the speaker, I could feel my body differently. I felt it as very light and easily spun or drawn toward this speaker, or hole, or force. With this perception of being sucked into a spinning action, combined with a feeling of the body being drawn out of the head of my real body (which I was aware or cognizant of on the floor, motionless), I recognized that in fact it was not my real body that was being pulled but rather a second body, or “out-of-the-body” body.


            In other words, I had what seemed to be the onset of something lucid. I knew that I was having an OBE, that I was in a dream or sleep state, and that when I moved my hand down with the sheet (or dreamt that I was moving it down), an OBE would begin - I’d begin to leave my body, being “sucked” towards the speaker and rotating. If I pulled up the sheet, I could get “sucked” from the other direction back into my body. I thought this was marvelous I It was as though a cocoon was formed by the sheet on top of me, and perhaps that cocoon somehow symbolized my real body and that by pushing the sheet down I was coming out of the cocoon. Perhaps that image contributed to the induction of the experience. Do you see the parallel?


            This all occurred very quickly as I began to spin past the speaker and then pull the sheet up (i.e., “feel” I was pulling it up) and feel myself drawn back into the body. I could feel a sudden impact of heaviness all over my body, or course, when I “re-entered” or returned to my body. I would then push the sheet down again, and be pulled out of my body by “the force” from the speaker and rotated on some kind of axis. I executed this back and forth, or in and out, control of the OBE via my “OBE-on and OBE-off” switch (pushing or pulling on the sheet) during a period of delightful experimentation.


            That there was some kind of force from the speaker was certainly odd, but I wasn’t concerned or frightened by the idea. I didn’t associate the experience with the movie and fear, oh my God, this is the beginning of another Poltergeist! I was wholly enthralled by the sensation of moving from a “dead,” real body of sleep - weight to this floating and rotating body and by the control I had over it. I continued my moving in and out of my body with the “hand switch,” as it were, exploring how much hand movement was required for inducing on OBE, or beginning one, and how fast I entered and exited, or, in other words, how fast I perceived my body as moving. I observed and inves­tigated the phenomenology of the experience. I tried to keep tabs on the various changes of body sensation as well. At first, I returned to my body shortly after beginning to spin toward the speaker. But finally, I decided to venture a full or complete 360 degree spin or two, and I did, managing to let myself out of my body and to spin completely around. I discovered that I could spin fairly rapidly and yet still return to my body by pulling my hand up.


            At that moment I thought to myself, “Well, I know this is a subjective experience, because it’s an OBE during sleep, yet on the other hand, it’s pretty darn realis­tic and extremely vivid. Also, I’m so aware and in control - thus, I must try to get objective verifica­tion of this! After all, I’m a scientist!” So I decided to make contact with an observer from “normal-everyday-awake reality” or consciousness, and the only available person was my housemate, who was upstairs in her room. “Could any of these things that are happen­ing to me be seen, observed objectively?” I wondered. I tried to call her to come down and watch me “spin” out of my body. If I could get her downstairs, I figured, I would immediately perform a spin or two for her to learn if she’d see me just laying there or if she would witness something paranormal. I was very aware of my entire circumstance: “look, you’re having this weird series of OBEs, but you’re in a dream, and one doesn’t see another’s dream experiences if they’re standing there watching. Yet what you’re experiencing is extraordinarily vivid! Maybe, you’d better check!”


Now began the second part of the whole episode. This part involved trying to contact the outer world. I needed to try to get my housemate downstairs as quickly as possible, because I was aware that the more I tried to call, that is, the longer that I focused on, or attended to, calling, the more likely I was to come out of that dream - sleep state, and the more likely I was to lose contact with the “OBE switch.” I decided to try to call her, but to also try to remain in this dream or OBE state by focusing on my hand. At the slightest sense that I was losing contact with the dream state, I would focus back on my hand and move it, to “re-contact” the moving in and out of the body. In that way I could retain both the dream state and the state required to call out to her.


            When I did try to call her, you can imagine what came out; “ooooohhhh!” I couldn’t form a word, but I heard my own groan. In my mind, of course, I heard the formation of her name, Dana, but I was well aware that I couldn’t get it out. “That really confirms that you’re asleep,” I thought, “but you must try harder, and you must be careful. If you succeed in forming a word, that will probably mean that you’ve reached a certain level of consciousness, and you could lose this dream - OBE state and control.” I tried to make the sounds louder and to shape them into her name, but always returned to the “switch.”


            Suddenly, at some point when I was listening to the outside world to hear if she was awake (her bedroom was just above me), I heard a creaking in her bed. It sounded as if she had just sat up, startled, which in fact was occurring as I later learned. I quickly called out again: “ooooohhhhl” She heard me and was indeed startled. She thought I was being strangled down in the living room! Unfortunately, this thought paralyzed her and caused her to hesitate! Hearing her awaken and sit up in bed, but not rush down to me, drove me crazy, because I didn’t think I would be able to sustain one foot in waking consciousness (calling, hearing my own groans and her movements) and one foot in sleep and the OBE states for very long. Eventually she started to come towards the staircase, but only very slowly. The floor upstairs was creaky and I could hear each footstep clearly. “She’s taking forever!” I thought. I spun a bit, returned to my body and then tried again to call to her more urgently. I knew I was asleep and yet I could hear and think about her and try to contact her. This seemed most unusual and was a rather difficult process.


            She crept down the stairs. I was aware of everything she was doing, of each point where she stopped at the stairs to listen for an attacker struggling with the strangling me. I was aware of her saying at one point, “Patric, Patric?!’ I also heard some beer drinkers outside the window put down 3 beer cans. I mention this event that was later verified to il­lustrate the degree to which I was conscious of the outside world. Finally, I felt that this was ridiculous and that I wasn’t getting anywhere. I reconciled that I would have to try to pronounce her name clearly, because she was simply not coming down fast enough! In a burst, I pushed with all of my energy, knowing that I better hold only that hand mechanism, and just at that moment, as I was about to call out in my greatest effort, she reached the bottom of the stairs, entered the living room and turned on the light: “Patric?!” she called and startled me at her proximity. And then suddenly, as if holding a delicate vase rather cumbersomely and dropping it inadvertently when startled, I “dropped” my delicate contact with the hand “switch” and my dream-OBE state. I had lost an unusually lucid control of a dream or OBE state with which, simultaneously, I had had direct contact with the waking world and ordinary consciousness. Yet, in that instance, I had the unusual opportunity to experience fully the transi­tional terrain between my awareness of the outside world (her coming down the steps, the beer drinkers, and so forth), and my awareness of, and participation in, the dream world. All I could do was gasp: “My God, why did you take so long?”

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The Out-of-Body Experience: A Personal Account



Andrew Brylowski

University of Texas Medical School at Houston

Houston, Texas


            That brings back a lot of memories and experiences. I’m going to summarize some of my experiences at a metaphysical school in England, Claregate College, some of my personal inner experiences, and how these relate to the OBE and lucid dreaming.


            Coming to Detroit, out of an era where fast cars and money were the dream, I traveled to Potter’s Bar England to turn inwardly. At Claregate College, the director Dr. Douglas Baker, told me that the most important objective of his program was to turn inwardly and record all of one’s dreams and subjective experiences. We were to try and understand how purpose and meaning in life were being reflected in a continuous and unconscious inner process. We did many exercises and read many different philosophies to make us more consciously aware, therefore better able to directly observe, our own unconscious processes.


            I recorded my subjective experiences and began practicing many variations of meditation. The theme of the school was centered around the Theosophical philosophy which postulates a soul, a reincarnation, karma and the manifestation of the soul through different bodies. A body which one could become just as aware of as ones own physical body was the astral or dream body. Just as we had acting consciousness and volition in this outer world with our physical bodies, we could also have acting consciousness and volition in the astral world with our dream body. In essence, the goal of the Claregate methodology was to make one more aware in total, thereby increasing one’s self understanding, not only of one’s ego, but of one’s unconscious.


            The methodology worked at evoking a myriad of inner experiences, hypnogogic and hypnopompic imagery, long elaborate vivid dreams, moments of profound revery, etc. The Claregate method was functional. In two months, I was trying to integrate some meditative techniques with dream recall techniques that Dr. Baker had outlined. One night I was trying to synchronize my breathing with my heart rate, and I felt myself falling out of my body. There was no visual experience, I was just falling, and it felt as it I was falling out of my body. While I experienced this, vibrational feelings surged through me and I heard a booming voice say “give your brother a credit card” It was my father’s voice.


            Psychological significance aside, the perceptual sensation associated with this experience was that of leaving my physical body with another body that had full volition and self reflective consciousness. Dr. Baker referred to this as astral projection with consciousness, and OBE.


            Having mastered some techniques for exploring in­wardly, I left Claregate College in England and came back to the United States. I went to the University of Texas at Austin, enrolled in the psychology program, and quickly became involved in a sleep and dream study. I was still functionally appreciating my dreams as astral projections. In all of my dreams, I just assumed I was in another world with another body. Whether or not I was indeed out of body with another body, or inside my head was not important, for I could function with a body in both inner and outer worlds. Functionally, it was easier to look at everything as another world, than to try and postulate how it could. be happening in my own head. In the sleep laboratory I began to have some conscious inner experiences and they were occurring during REM sleep. I will comment about the physiology later in the day.


            I began to question the discrepencies betweeen scien­tific evidence of REM sleep being a brain stem phenomenon and my experience of volition and con­sciousness during this supposedly primitive state. How could something so real, so full of volition and sensations not be another world? I was satisfied the laboratory evidence showed a REM sleep process, but the fact remained that in order to function success­fully in this inner world, I wouldn’t say to myself that this is a dream, but I would just intuit a world different from the outer world. A kind of reflex intuition discriminating inner from outer worlds.


            These experiences, whether lucid dreaming, leaving ones body, or astral projection, functionally and subjectively require the perceptual experience of an inner body, and objectively require a REM sleep state with a sleeping physical body. What the truth of these experiences really is will always be open to interpretation, but with a definition of perception of an inner body during a REM sleep state, we can estab­lish a working model by which to further investigate and increase our understanding of the human mind.


            One of my most vivid OBE’s was after the death of a loved one two years ago. At the time I happened to be reading Robert Monroe’s Journeys Out of the Body and was practicing some of his techniques. While lying in bed I had a very powerful vibration or energy sensa­tion, rotated my dream body 180 degrees, sat up, looked around my parents bed room where I slept, and observed the surroundings with full awareness. Everything was the same except the color of the sheet and the body underneath it in the bed. I threw back the sheet and found a body lying there as if dead, but this body was me! This other me stood out of bed and grabbed my arms and struggled and shook me. I broke away and walked about this inner imaged house shocked at my encounter with my mortality. When I awakened, even though saddened, this profound inner experience helped me feel serene and warm in some mysterious way, about the experience of death.


            In summary, I find the OBE or lucid dream to be a very vivid inner experience with full awareness and voli­tion during a REM sleep state. The experience of this state allows for gaining much insight into oneself and can be increased by the following:


1.    Writing down ones dreams and subjective experiences and reflecting on them.

2.    Becoming self reflective of outer experiences, and incorporating this self reflectiveness to inner experiences while they happen.

3.    Reading and practicing many different techniques and philosophies of becoming lucid inwardly.

4..   Continue using the techniques which help you in your life and stimulate your inner growth and satisfaction.


            I would like to close with a saying from Claregate College which summarizes my feelings:


“Not that we must live in this world less,

but we must live in both worlds more”.


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Comments on the OBE/Lucid Dream Controversy


Roy D. Salley

McGuire VA Medical Center

Medical College of Virginia

Virginia Commonwealth University


            The lucid dream experience and the out-of-body ex­perience are currently being interpreted in quite different ways. The two positions I would like to focus on are the most extreme positions taken by the lucid dream and OBE camps. The OBEers, who describe their experiences as actual separation from the physi­cal body, tend to relegate lucid dreaming to a lesser state of awareness or a state from which one can catapult oneself out-of-body. The extreme lucid dreamer position claims that OBEers are simplistically naive and are “just” dreaming lucidly confusing a hallucinated dream world for a supposed spiritual world or “real” physical world (LaBerge, 1985).


            It is important at this point to recognize that con­trolled Western style research in these states of consciousness is in a state of infancy. Tart pub­lished the first controlled out-of-body research in 1967 and 1968, less than 20 years ago. Lucid dream research is significantly less than a decade old. An important model for this consciousness research is a participant observer stance in which theoretical models are initially based on one’s own subjective experiences. It becomes quite natural, therefore, to form a position from one’s own experience and to hold onto it mightily. At times, one can mistakenly and prematurely reify a stance into an encrusted and rigid monolith that walls off and obstructs more than it enlightens. Such premature reifications may be occur­ring in the extreme OBE/lucid dream camps. Mutual dialogues in the spirit of our acknowledged limited understanding of states of consciousness research may be the most fruitful position for progress in the current OBE/lucid dream controversy.


REM Phenomena in OBEs


            That there is some connection between dreaming and OBEs is quite clear despite the objections of some authors (Gabbard & Twemlow, 1984). Several correla­tions between REM sleep phenomena and some out-of-body reports have been cited (Salley, 1982). Catalepsy, or physical paralysis, is a frequently noticed con­comitant of an OBE. One well known OBEer, Sylvan Muldoon, considered “astral catalepsy” a “fundamental law of astral projection” (Muldoon & Carrington, 1977). (Astral projection is an old occult term for an OBE.) Muldoon’s experiences led him to believe that catalepsy always occurs prior to an OBE and terminates with the return of the “astral body” to the physical body.


            This catalepsy experience among OBE reports is fre­quently reported. Blue Harary (Morris, Harary, Janis, Hartwell, & Roll, 1978), Oliver Fox (pseudonym, 1962), and Yram (pseudonym, 1965) in describing their own OBEs, describe clear paralysis during their experiences. Crookall’s (1966) and Carrington’s (Muldoon & Carrington, 1977, pp. 28-38) compendiums of many OBE reports cite repeated references to catalepsy. The paralysis is not typical of all OBEs and both Robert Monroe (1977) and Eileen Garrett (Crookall, 1966, p. 175) report paralysis most consis­tently only in their early OBEs. It appears clear, however, that this “astral catalepsy” so frequently reported in the OBE literature is similar if not identical to REM paralysis that routinely and persist­ently accompanies dreaming.


            A second correspondence between dreaming and OBEs are clearly seen in OBE induction techniques. Conscious dreaming is repeatedly referenced as an out-of-body separation technique. Upon recognizing that one is dreaming consciously (lucidly dreaming), one can reportedly will oneself out-of-body (Fox, 1962; Monroe, 1977; Muldoon & Carrington, 1977; Ophiel, 1961). A second OBE separation technique involves developing a trance state through extremely deep relaxation. Mastery of this technique reportedly results in catalepsy, conscious sleep, and separation from the physical body. This relationship of dreaming to OBEs is found not only in the Western occult tradi­tion, but also in cultures throughout the world. Sheils (1978) found that in 67 non-Western cultures, sleep is described as the most important source of the OBE in 79% of the cultures.


            A third correlation between dreaming and OBEs is suggested in occasional reports of sexual arousal during OBEs. Monroe (1977, p. 195) comments that “the most consistent physical reaction noted when returning (from an OBE) is a penile erection.” References on sexual responsiveness are noteworthy for their absence in the older occult OBE literature. Many current subjects who report OBEs also describe penile erec­tions or vaginal engorgement and lubrication during the separation (Monroe, personal communication). The extent of sexual arousal during OBEs remains unclear and anecdotal at present. The association of sexual arousal during REM periods, dreaming and at least some OBEs provide further evidence for correlations between lucid dreaming and OBEs.


            A simple OBE physiology equals REM physiology is very clearly not evident. The very few physiological studies of OBEers are remarkable for the lack of any consistencies across subjects monitored (Rogo, 1985). The subjective reports of gifted OBEers does indicate, however, that sleep states and REM phenomena are correlated with at least some OBEs.


Lucid Dreams, OBEs, and Parapsychology


            Correlations between lucid dreaming and OBE phenomena prove neither the identity nor the dissimilarity of these two states of consciousness. OBEers argue that the occasional occurrence of psi phenomena, which has been found in a few parapsychological studies of OBEs (see Rogo, 1978 for a review of this literature) argues for a clear distinction between lucid dreaming and OBEs. Some argue, however, that the rare incidences of documented ESP phenomena during OBEs can be explained with a lucid dreaming plus telepathy explanation (LaBerge, 1985). The use of the term telepathy explains nothing. The term refers to no known process; it is merely a label used to describe the acquisition of information by some, as yet, unex­plained method. Since telepathy is no more understood than OBEs, this “explanation” offers little more than a different label for the same data.


            The difficulty of achieving ESP results in OBE studies certainly does not strengthen the OBEs-are-distinct- from-lucid-dreams position. It seems clear that confirmative parapsychological studies are crucial for the OBE position to establish its viability. The difficulty of OBE verifiability in parapsychological studies may, however, be a function of the research designs themselves. It is argued that current OBE research designs are plagued by assumptions that may stack the deck against finding any veridical data because inappropriate designs are perhaps being used.


            Let us assume, for a moment, that the OBE position is valid. Let us assume that some organized aspect of consciousness can operate outside of the physical body. Let us also assume, for a moment, that “spiritual” or “astral” levels of consciousness exist that are separate from the physical world. Such levels are frequently described by OBEers as well as by most religious and occult disciplines (see Monroe, 1985 for an extensive description of such levels). If such positions are correct, it is probable that there is evolutionary pressure supporting and driving the development of a type of conscious organization that can perceive and operate on these different levels. The purpose of this assumed “astral body” then, is to function cognitively on levels different from the physical world. It would seem that this “astral consciousness” would be redundant if it was evolutionarily designed to function on the physical level since the senses of the physical body already function well on the physical level. Following this line of logic, the “astral consciousness” may not be particularly adept at functioning at the level of the physical world.


            The parapsychological studies that have been designed as yet require that the OBEer function at a physical level to obtain physical world data while out-of-body. This assumption that the OBE state should be able to prove its ability to function at a physical level, a level which its conscious organization may or may not be well suited, may explain the generally poor results of OBE parapsychological studies. Some OBEers, in fact, claim that out-of-body sensory systems are quite poor (Harary, 1978; Monroe, 1982; personal communication).


            This problem could be circumvented by working with two skilled OBEers who attempt to meet on these hypothesized “astral levels” of consciousness and then share information that can be verified. Controlled studies of this type could then provide evidence as to whether an OBE is “only” a lucid dream or distinctly different from dream consciousness seen as a hal­lucinated experience. This design might then (admittedly speculatively) allow for OBE consciousness to operate at a level appropriate to its mode of functioning. A study of note in this direction using hypnosis, not OBE states, is described by Tart (1969).


            Tart had two highly hypnotizable subjects hypnotize each other simultaneously. They both became silent and after returning to full waking consciousness reported the same imagery experience while silent in trance. Harary (1978) similarly describes helping a friend get out-of-body while he himself was out-of- body. His friend reported knowledge of the experience on their next meeting. Controlled research along these lines may provide an appropriate design that may best be able to test the OBE position.




            Probably the most important distinction between the OBE and lucid dream positions is the existence of the ‘reality” of the separation. The lucid dreamers see the subjective separation experience as an hallucinated dream phenomena. The OBEers view the experience as “real” allowing a dissociated aspect of consciousness to operate in the physical world or in a “real” “astral” world. As mentioned previously, these posi­tions are testable and verifiable. If researchers can demonstrate that two people can report the same veridical experience simultaneously while lucidly dreaming or out-of-body, then researchers could begin to map out levels of consciousness different from physical world reality that may have a reality of their own, governed by different laws that the physi­cal world. If this occurs, then, some forms of lucid dreams may be seen as quite different from “just a dream.”


            Speculating that such a different picture of reality is developed encompassing “real” levels very different from each other with very different conscious or­ganizations developed to perceive each level, the OBE and the lucid dream positions may begin to overlap very clearly. Perhaps some forms of lucid dreams are totally “in one’s own head” in which one is consciously working within a personal, individual level of consciousness. Perhaps other forms of lucid dreams allow one to decouple from this personal mental sphere and emerge into a transpersonal reality that is not governed by one’s own thoughts alone. This latter form of a lucid dream would appear to be identical to what is labeled an OBE by the OBE camp.


In conclusion, the ideas discussed here are admittedly highly speculative and may well prove to be incorrect. It is argued, however, that allowing ourselves to theorize beyond the limits of current data and to speculate outside of current assumptions of reality may be necessary to understand the lucid dream and OBE experiences. It is possible that some forms of OBEs and lucid dreams may not, in fact, be fully ex­plainable in terms of current accepted scientific models. OBEs and lucid dreams may become important vehicles through which expanded models are developed.




Crookall, R. (1966). The study and practice of astral projection. Secaucus, NJ: University Books.

Fox, 0. (1962). Astral projection:  A record of out-of-body experiences. Secaucus, NJ.: University Books. (Originally published in 1939)

Gabbard, G. 0., & Twemlow, S. (1984). With the eyes of the mind. New York: Praiger

Harary, S. B. (1978). A personal perspective on out-of-body experiences. In D. S. Rogo (Ed.), Mind Beyond the Body. (pp. 260—269), New York: Penguin Books

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

Monroe, R. A. (1985). Far journeys. New York: Doubleday.

Monroe, R. A. (1977). Journeys out of the body. New York: Anchor Books.

Morris, R.L., Harary, S. B., Janis, J., Hartwell, J., & Roll, W.G. (1978). Studies of communication during out-of-body experiences. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 72, 1-21.

Muldoon, S. & Carrington, H. (1977). The projection of the astral body. New York: Samuel Weiser. (Originally published in 1929).

Ophiel. (1961). The art and practice of astral projection. New York: Samuel Weiser.

Rogo, D.S. (1985). Out-of-body experiences as lucid dreams: A critique. Lucidity Letter, 4(2), 43-47.

Rogo, D.S. (1985). REM sleep phenomena during out-of-body experiences. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 76, 157-165.

Salley, R. D. (1982). REM sleep phenomena during out-of-body experiences. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 76, 157-165.

Sheils, P. (1978). A cross-cultural study of beliefs in out-of-body experiences, waking and sleeping. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 49, 697—741.

Tart, C. T. (1967). A second psychophysiological study of out-of-body experiences in a gifted subject. International Journal of Parapsychology, 9, 251-258.

Tart, C. T. (1968). A psychophysiological study of out-of-body experiences in a selected subject. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 62, 3-27.

Tart, C. T. (1969). Psychedelic experiences as­sociated with a novel hypnotic procedure, mutual hypnosis. In C. T. Tart (Ed.), Altered States of Consciousness (pp.297-315). New York: Doubleday.

Yram. (1965). Practical astral projection. New York: Samuel Weiser.

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Personality Characteristics Associated With the Dream

Lucidity Ability: Fact or Fiction.



.Jayne Gackenbach

Department of Psychology

University of Northern Iowa


            Two areas of particular interest to me about lucid dreaming are: (1) individual differences; is there a certain type of person who is likely to have these experiences and (2) systematic analysis of the content of the experience. I’ll be talking about the content analysis later. Right now, I’m going to talk about the type of person who is likely to have this dream. A complete review of our program of research on in­dividual differences will soon be available (Snyder & Gackenbach, in press).


            This research began with my dissertation in the mid-1970’s. Today I decided to focus on the personality correlates to the dream lucidity ability, and thus the title. I feel frustration working with personality variables. Those of you who are Clinical, Social or Personality Psychologists, (I am a Social Psychologist by training) may appreciate my frustration. As in the personality literature in general, the amount of variance that personality accounts for in predicting the lucidity ability is minimal. In the literature about 30% of the behavioral variance is accounted for by personality. I’d say that’s probably comparable when predicting the lucidity ability using personality. Imaginational, perceptual and spatial variables have been much more effective predictors (see Snyder & Gackenbach, in press). None-the-less, there are a few variables which are worth talking about.


            I’m going to first consider some methodological issues for those of you who aren’t familiar with these (see Table 1).





In my work, I conceptualize the lucidity ability in terms of its act frequency. That is, I simply ask people how frequently they have this experience. There is precedence in the personality literature for this sort of conceptualization. However, certain controls are vital to any work with lucid dreaming, especially with self-report information. The first control, is the verification of the subjects under­standing of dream lucidity. In one study with 707 Introductory Psychology students we lost 341 people because they could not, or would not, give us a lucid dream transcript that we could be reasonably confident demonstrated their understanding. Our criteria was the inclusion of a recognition phrase (i.e., ‘Then I knew I was dreaming.’ or ‘I was so relieved to then realize that it only was a dream,’) as part of the lucid dream transcript. In other words, we lost about half of the people in the normative sample (Introductory Psychology students in the University of Northern Iowa) because they misunderstood. Researchers must be sure that subjects understand.


            We’ve found that in study after study people who tend to have a lot of lucid dreams also had a tendency to report dreaming a lot, so you also have to control for dream recall. Finally, we controlled for variables such as social desirability and other confounds that one would expect from the personality literature.


            We worked with two basic types of subjects. I tried to stick with the Introductory Psychology students, as any good psychologist knows that all human behavior is based on knowledge about white rats and college sophomores! So I stayed with the college sophomore! However, every now and again I have been enticed into working with adult subjects. Unfortunately, the adults that I have worked with are typically highly interested in dreaming. Consequently, they represent a select and biased sample. Additionally, we’ve found that they tend to be from a higher economic strata, better educated, and more intelligent as well as very interested in dreaming. For these reasons, the sophomores at UNI are my normative referent.


            Regarding procedural considerations, most of my work is ‘paper and pencil’. Although I have used some ‘experimental’ procedures. Most of the studies in this area are my work with my students at UNI. Other studies referenced in this talk include the work of Sally Kueny, Keith Hearne, Susan Blackmore, Henry Reed, and Harry Hunt. But the work has been predominantly my own. In a review of 25 studies in the area of individual differences and dream lucidity, the majority of which were mine, 77% used self-report frequency as the estimate of lucidity. In texts of verification of understanding the concept, 62% con­trolled for it. Only 45% have controlled for dream recall, which I consider a major methodological flaw. Concerning type of subjects, 72% are students. (I do try to stay with that sample!) In terms of the proce­dure, 65% are based on self-report scales. Finally, the statistical analyses were either analysis of variance formats or correlational procedures. (In more recent research I have been moving toward a multi- variant model.)


            The first variable I’d like to discuss is risk-taking (see Table 2). This came from the work of Joe Dane, who had the idea that people who were spontaneously having lucid dreams were probably people who were willing to take a risk of some sort. So he and Bob Van de Castle, his major professor, developed the Dane-Van de Castle Risk-Taking Scale. They had a few items characterizing internal risks, such as, ‘Do you like to take drugs?’ or ‘Would you be willing to participate in an hypnosis experiment?’ and some querying external risks, such as, ‘Do you like to climb mountains?’ or ‘Would you jump out of airplanes?’. In his study, as well as my own, we found that risks, both external and internal, seemed to be characteristic of the frequently lucid female (see Table 2).


            Then in 1983, I further investigated the notion of risk by looking at some of the classic measures of risk. The Choice Dilemma Questionnaire, developed by Stoner, is the major instrument used in the measure­ment of the risky shift phenomena. That is, the finding that groups make riskier decisions than individuals. We also administered Zuckerman’s Sensation Seeking Scale. Sensation seekers are defined as people who need varied, novel, and complex sensations and experiences to maintain an optimal level of arousal. We administered all three scales in1983 to UNI students. We found nothing with the Dane-Van de Castle scale. For the choice dilemma, we noted a positive relationship meaning risky choices were associated with the dream lucidity ability. However, a negative relationship with sensation seeking surprised us, as it was the opposite of what we’d been finding with the Dane-Van de Castle Scale. Consequently, we did some interscale correlations.






            Scores on the Choice Dilemma Questionnaire were unre­lated to scores on the Dane-Van de Castle Scale, but the Sensation Seeking Scale was positively correlated to it (see Table 2). If you look at the item content, the Dane-Van de Castle Scale is really a shorter version of the Sensation Seeking Scale. Consequently, we administered these two scales on two more occa­sions, the following spring and summer of 1984. The negative relationship, with the lucidity ability, particularly with the Sensation Seeking Scale, emerged again. In the 1983 and 1984 studies the risk-lucidity associations were only happening with males, whereas in 1980 and 1982, I wasn’t getting much at all with males. This is how I interpret these findings. If you read the items in the Sensation Seeking Scale, 90% of them characterize externally risky situations. Furthermore, it is a much longer scale than the eight item Dane-Van de Castle. It seems that male lucid dreamers do not like externally risky situations. In other words, they are not sensation seekers. Among females, there was more preference for risk, espe­cially internal. You’ll see that this sex difference reverberates throughout our work.


            Self perception is the next variable I will consider. Specifically, we have examined self concept, self monitoring, self control and self consciousness (see Table 3). Looking at some of my own work as well as the work of others, these variations on self percep­tion pretty much washed out as predictors of the dream lucidity ability. Most of this work has been on self-consciousness, an idea initially proposed Steve LaBerge who first administered that scale at Stanford and found that private self consciousness, habitual attendance to one’s thoughts, motives and feelings, was characteristic of the frequently lucid dreamer. For public self consciousness, defined as a concern for one’s social appearance of the impression one makes on others, there was no relationship. Several studies followed this initial inquiry. For both the Gackenbach et al. (1983) and Kueny (1985) studies, adult subjects and appropriate controls were used, but these were also the same controls used in the initial study. The combined results are muddy. However, there is one particularly noteworthy finding. Gackenbach et al. (1983) regressed intelligence, creativity, several personality measures and self consciousness onto self report lucid dreaming frequency. We found that for males, private self consciousness was the best predictor. That seemed to support LaBerge’s original notion. However, Kueny (1985) reported negative relationships on very small samples (see Table 3).








            Anxiety, thought to be the best predictor of self concept, has also been repeatedly investigated (see Table 4). Basically, the use of the anxiety scales listed here, resulted in mixed findings. Lets focus on social anxiety from the Self Consciousness Inventory (see Table 14). These studies use good con­trols whereas the earlier ones, by and large, did not. For females, there is some indication of low anxiety, associated with lucidity. This is consistent with the earlier studies. Weighting for the use of controls there a positive relationship between anxiety and lucidity for males has been found.


            You can see a picture emerging. I believe that sex role identity is the pivotal variable. My inter­pretation of individual differences associated with dream lucidity comes from the findings with sex role identity, which is the extent to which an individual exhibits traits that are consistent with the traditional male or female social role. Gackenbach (1978, 1986) found a masculine factor from a factor analysis of the 16FF and other personality measures and she noted a positive relationship of it to lucidity. In the second study on Table 5 the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ), one of the standard measures of masculinity and femininity, subscales for males were both positively related to lucid dreaming frequency. The female data was less clear (see Table 5). In Kueny’s (1985) study when subjects were separated for sex, nothing emerged but she had very few subjects. When she collapsed across sex a positive relationship with femininity emerged. It’s important to point out that for the Gackenbach et al. (1983) females there’s no relationship between femininity and lucidity. Although these subjects were more masculine than the PAQ norms, they are not less feminine than those same norms. What we see, espe­cially for males, is that an androgenous individual is a lucid dreamer.







            In Table 6 are listed studies which examined extroversion. When weighted for controls no relation­ship has been found to extroversion. Snyder and Gackenbach (in press) argue that Kueny’s (1985) remarkable finding of the number of signal verified lucid dreams as highly significantly correlated with introversion (r = -.90) for only three men is theoretically important. Specifically we note that, “introverts have been said to maintain a higher level of arousal than extroverts due to constitutionally-determined properties of the central and autonomic nervous systems (p.145).” Furthermore, we argue that lucid dreaming involves a higher level of arousal during sleep. Therefore, her finding deserves further inquiry.






            Finally, the findings with religiousity, neurotisism, and hypnotizability will be briefly described (see Table 7). Religiosity correlations resulted in a mixed picture, depending on how you ask about it. Gackenbach (1984c) found that lucid women. seemed to exhibit both an eastern and a western philosophy of life. But in the same study there was a negative relationship such that males who frequently have lucid dreams seem not to identify themselves as highly religious.


            We also didn’t find much for correlations with neuroticism (see Table 7). With hypnotizability, Dane selected female non-lucid dreamers, who were high in hypnotizability, and was remarkably successful in inducing lucid dreams in their one night in the sleep laboratory. Kueny (1983) did a group induction and found a mixed picture (see footnote 5 of Table 7).


            To summarize: What I think - and what frankly surprises me, but seems to gel with my initial gut feeling from my dissertation in 1978 - is that the “average” male lucid dreamer (not the sophisticated 500 lucid dreams lucid dreamer) is not a sensation seeker, has some social anxiety, seems androgenous and introverted, and possibly has a lot of inner orientation. This, as versus the female lucid dreamer, who is a risk taker, self monitoring, sensitive to social cues, low in anxiety, high in masculinity and hypnotizable. What I think we’re seeing here, is an androgenous model. Lucid women stepping out of their sex roles to become more masculine and to take risks, is consistent with that model. Masculinity has been found in the sex role literature to be the key to psychological well­being and not androgyny. You can have femininity or not; it’s the presence of masculinity which is important. The lucid dreaming woman is not anxious, she’s a risk taker. I think that she’s doing well. She’s also hypnotizable and sensitive to social cues. A good, strong self-concept emerges fitting with the Transcendental Meditation (TM) concept of “witnessing” a dream (i.e., a variation on lucidity). The theory behind TM is that it is an evolved state of conscious­ness and people who practice it are psychologically

healthier than non-practitioners. To the extent to which consciousness evolution, parallels psychological well-being, the female data here fits their model. For the male, however, the TM model is problematic. For a man to engage in these activities, (i.e., at­tending to his dreams) is out of role and consequently risky. There is a lot of negative pressure from his environment about engaging in nontraditional activities. Consequently, he may suffer social anxiety. It’s a very risky path to take in life with lots of negative feedback.




Belicki, D.A., Hunt, H., & Belicki, K. (1978). An exploratory study comparing self-reported lucid and non-lucid dreamers. Sleep Research, 7, 166.

Dane, J. (1984). A comparison of waking instructions and post-hypnotic suggestion for lucid dream induction. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Georgia State University.

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

Gackenbach, J.I. (1980). (Fall mass testing). Unpublished raw data.

Gackenbach, J.I. (1983). (Fall mass testing). Unpublished raw data.

Gackenbach, J.I. (1984). (Spring mass testing). Unpublished data. (a)

Gackenbach, J.I. (1984). (Summer mass testing). Unpublished raw data. (b)

Gackenbach, J.I. (1984). (Fall mass testing). Unpublished raw data. (c)

Gackenbach, J.I. (1986). Personality differences between individuals varying in lucid dreaming frequency. Manuscript submitted for publication.

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

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

Kueny, Sallie (1985). An examination of auditory cueing in REM sleep for the induction of lucid dreaming. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Pacific Graduate School of Psychology.

LaBerge, S. & Gackenbach, J.I. (1982). (Self- perception testing). Unpublished raw data.

Palmer, J.. (1974). A community mail survey of psychic experiences. Research in Parapsycology, 3, 130-133.

Snyder, T.J. & Gackenbach, J.I. (in press). Individual differences associated with lucid dreaming. In J.I. Gackenbach & S.P. LaBerge (Eds.), Lucid dreaming: New research on con­sciousness during sleep, New York: Plenum.


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Personal Exploration of Lucid Dreaming



Stephen LaBerge

Sleep Research Center

Stanford University


Beverly Kedzierski

Carnegie Group

Pittsburgh, PA


Kenneth Moss

Michigan Stage Medical Society


Jill Gregory

Navato, California


George Gillespie

Department of Oriental Studies

University of Pennsylvania


Henri Rojouan

Paris, France



LaBerge: This panel discussion will begin with a presentation of personal experiences with lucid dreaming. These are by people who have had many of these dreams, have kept records of them, and have, I believe, much of interest to tell us.


            However, before we hear from them, I would like to make a remark about dreaming and the important con­tribution personal experiences can make. If you think about it, you may wonder where we actually begin to know the things we know about lucid dreams. Well, it happened that there were people like the Marquis d’Hervey de Saint-Denys and Frederik Van Eden who made a project of discovering what could be done with lucid dreaming. They made entire studies of lucid dreams, and from them we have learned many things that could be very important. We still have much to learn about the phenomenology of lucid dreaming, and individual explorers can contribute as much as the pioneers of the last Century.


            There are some questions that I would like panelists to address, where possible, while making their statements: What is the easiest way to get into a lucid dream? What have you learned that may have a bearing on the induction question? Once you’re there, how do you stay there? What techniques allow you to move around in the dream state?


            Suppose you’d like to go from one place to another, how do you do it? What kinds of techniques do you have for meeting with a certain person, reentering a dream you just had, replaying it and trying again? Any change techniques would be, I think, very useful to share. We will hear first from Beverly Kedzierski of Palo Alto, California, who is currently working at Carnegie Group Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Kedzienki: I have been working with Stephen LaBerge since 1980 in Palo Alto, CA which is where I am from. My career in Artificial Intelligence with Carnegie Group, Inc. has taken me to Pittsburgh, PA for one year. My experiences with lucid dreaming really started when I was about 6 or 7 years old, although I didn’t know what I did was called lucid dreaming at the time. The first lucid dream I remember came from a re-occurring nightmare about witches chasing me. Every night these witches would try to get me, and I would say, “Spare me tonight, you can have me in tomorrow night’s dream.” Then I would wake up. I got very tired of this; so one hot summer night, when I was sleeping on the floor in the front room of my parents house, I had a dream that ended the witches dreams for good. In this dream, while the witches were chasing me I realized that, if they could get me in the next dream, then this must be a dream also. So I said “Okay, let’s get this over with - I give in.” Instead of hurting me they left and I never had any more dreams about witches. All of this made me real­ize that there was a lot I could do with my dreams. I developed some techniques to help me with things like waking up. I found that when I knew I was in a dream that I wanted to get out of, if I did a backward somersault I would wake up. Staring at a bright light would wake me up as well. When I was quite young I can remember staying conscious from waking straight into dreaming. I had a lot of lucid dreams throughout my life mostly doing things for fun that I wouldn’t normally do.


            The lucid dreams continued through college and graduate school, when, I learned to take additional risks in my dreams. Around 1979, I began studying these dreams in a little more depth. I was remember­ing about 5 to 10 dreams a night and thought that I might have been dreaming too much. I discussed my situation with a woman that I knew who was interested in dreaming. I explained to her how I could change the content of my dreams, or bring people into my dreams, and she said that this ability definitely was an asset. She said that what I did was called lucid dreaming, and that I was lucky to be able to do it.


            Later, I told a friend of mine in the Psychology Department at Stanford that I could lucid dream and he said that I’d have to meet his friend, Stephen LaBerge, who was working on his Ph.D. dissertation on lucid dreaming at the time. When I met Stephen he asked me to try some techniques in my dreams that night that he was doing to see what would happen. I laughed and said, “I know what’s going to happen, I’ve been doing similar techniques in my dreams since I was very small.” We found that the results of my tech­niques were the same as the results of the techniques he was developing in his research. So, he invited me to the Stanford University sleep lab and I began to do some experiments to test how the physical body is effected by dream activity.


            Let me briefly describe the experiments. In the lab, I would be connected with electrodes on my scalp and face and sometimes by my heart or somewhere else on my skin. The electrodes would be connected to a polygraph machine and would pick up by brain waves and other physical responses. I could signal with my eyes, moving them left and right and left and right, to create a very clear mark on the polygraph. I would signal between different activities in the dream that we’d plan before I go to sleep. In a typical experi­ment, I’d signal that I was lucid by moving my eyes back and forth four times. Then I might hold my breath for about 5 seconds and then give another signal with my eyes. After that, I might sing a song or breathe rapidly depending what we were testing. Sometimes it would be a pretty complex set of signals and actions. Afterwards, I would either continue with the dream or signal that I was about to wake myself up, by giving a longer series of eye signals. Finally, I would actually wake up. The experiments were pretty easy for me to do, because I was highly motivated by being in the lab and connected up to all the equipment.


            The lucid dreams that I have at home are very similar to the ones I have in the lab. Lucidity can happen at different times and in different ways in a dream. My clue for lucidity would often be an inconsistency in the dream world. When I suspected that I was dreaming I would test myself by trying to float up into the air. If I could float, then I knew I was dreaming. I would often feel my dream body raising up out of my dream bed also in a laboratory bed setting. Then I would fly through the wall into another room, where I would do my tasks.


            I slept at the lab every couple of months for the first year. In the laboratory, I would often have lucid dreams that came directly from being awake because I was trying to perform very specific tasks that were prominent in my mind. When I woke up in a REM period I would concentrate on getting back into the dream state.


            I’ve learned some things about lucid dreams and some of these things apply to being awake as well. Because it is much easier to have and remember lucid dreams in later REM periods, I learned not to even try to have such lucid dreams until after I’d been asleep for about 8 or 9 hours. I also learned to concentrate and stare at something in a dream to keep the dream stable. I believe that it is important not to try to force or control dreams, even though I have the ability to change them. It is best to accept whatever happens or to expect whatever I would like to happen. For instance, for me it is best to change my own attitude or to take a different action, rather than to try and change the people in my dream. Also if I think that I will not be able to do something in a lucid dream, I probably will not be able to do it. But if I expect something to happen, it probably will happen. For example, this occurred during an experi­ment we were doing on healing. I decided to try to heal my neck in a lucid dream by generating healing energy from my fingers shooting the energy into my neck. I ended up starting my dream hair on fire, because I had assumed that such energy would have sparks that would burn the long hair I had at the time. If I didn’t assume that energy caused sparks or if I was lucid enough to cancel them the fire wouldn’t have occurred.


            Two other techniques that I learned, particularly from sleeping in the laboratory have to do with false awakenings. I would often find myself in a lucid dream unable to wake up and that would be very frustrating. I began to practice yoga and deep relaxation techniques in the dream. When I would get completely relaxed I would wake up. I also had progressive false awakenings. That is, I would dream that I woke up, sometimes 10 or 20 times, and think that I was really awake yet I’d still be dreaming. I’ve learned to stay lucid or conscious throughout the period of waking up by relaxing until I’m really awake. This is much more satisfying than false awakenings.


            I don’t have the time to describe too many dreams, but I’ll give a few examples to give the flavor of the different types of activity that I’ve engaged in, in my dreams. One is solving problems. When I was working on my doctoral dissertation proposal, I was having trouble getting started. I decided to dream about working on it. Sure enough I discovered my problem and had no trouble completing it.


            Another ability I have is to decide to dream about people that I know who have died. I can ask them about their death, because I am lucid and aware that the people they represent have actually died. Along this same line, I have experienced dying myself in the dream. Additionally, I’ve experienced the reverse of dream studies. Scientists in the dream world study me as I go into the waking state and then back into the same dream. In this case, waking up is to the dream world what going to sleep is to the waking world.


            I’ve also been able to replay dreams. Sometimes in the night I’ll have a dream and then wake up and decide to react a certain way or alter the ending of the dream by replaying the dream several times. It’s fun to try out different alternatives.


            There is one dream activity that really shows the exploratory growth of my dreams since I was a child. I’ve always flown in lucid dreams, but when I was little, I used to have to flap my arms and struggle to stay up in the air. When I realized that I had more control over my dreams I said, “I should be able to just fly like Superman, and glide through the air without any effort at all.” I did this for many years and my only obstacles were houses and telephone poles that I’d often run into. When I thought about this and I told myself, “Gee I could actually fly through physical objects because it’s only a dream.” So I did. After a while I realized that I didn’t have to fly anywhere. All I had to do is turn around and decide that any place I wanted to be would appear behind me. This turned out to be easy but wasn’t as much fun as actually flying. So now I just soar through the air in my lucid dreams without any limita­tions on space or time. I really enjoy them.


LaBerge: Next we have Kenneth Moss from Michigan, and he’s going to tell us about the experiences he’s been having in his lucid dreams.


Moss: Essentially I’ve been interested in dreams as far back as I can remember, going back, probably, to the age of 5 or before that. However, I don’t remem­ber having a lucid dream until 1979. About that time, I was having dreams that were increasing in their bizarreness and vividness. I became more interested in looking at the experience of the dream instead of at the imagery or symbolism of the dream elements. The consciousness, emotions and feelings that were occurring in the dream were important to me.


            About this time I also started having many false awakenings and flying dreams. To me, they were very bizarre. I didn’t really know what they were. I began explaining them in terms of an astral projection model and started experimenting with familiar things such as, trying to contact other people, improving flying, going to other places, and so forth. However, in this also, I became kind of more interested in the actual consciousness and experience of the projection. I started thinking that even if I went to another place, that ultimately what I’m concerned with is the experience and the feelings.


            I also had experiences of a vibration, in which consciousness itself is sort of a waveform characteristic. I found that this experience was luminous and by using certain directive techniques, I could increase it, like a resonance of the vibration. From that point I started experimenting with lucid dreams. My primary intent was inducing experiential states, such as the vibrational state.


            I have a photography hobby. Many of the photographic images that I had used when they appeared in a lucid dream helped to either induce or accentuate this vibrational sense among other experiences.


            I also had tunnel experiences which could lead to other places in the dream. But more commonly, I felt that the tunnel experience was a metaphor of change. Not so much going to another physical reality, as changing from one level of consciousness to another. Though it may be somewhat idiosyncratic, in my own particular dreams, the tunnel experience usually takes the form of a vortex type whirling sensation. Usually in the processes of having the vortex, I go into an altered state such as the vibrational state.


            The article that I wrote for Lucidity Letter (4(1), 15-16, 1985.) goes through the techniques that I’ve used. Some of them are based on photographic simula­tions in the dream state. The simulation of these waking techniques can range from accurate to paradoxical. The laws of physics are commonly vio­lated such as in flying dreams. Some of the photographic things that I have done were also different. For example, when the shutter of the “dream camera” closes one would expect darkness, but instead the image that would be obtained after developing is, in many cases, automatically substituted. Some of the results are surprising in this respect. I don’t know if they will work for other people, but they’re there if you want to try them.


LaBerge: Now we’ll hear from Jill Gregory, a Californian. She has just finished her bachelor’s thesis based on the study of her own lucid dreams, and she’s going to tell us about that.


Gregory: My bachelor’s thesis is entitled, “Becoming a Lucid Dreamer: An Analysis of My Development in the Art and Science of Lucid Dreaming”. It is an analysis of seven-and-a-half years of lucid dreaming. There are three basic areas I explore: why did I begin to lucid dream; how have I changed as a lucid dreamer; and why do I continue to lucid dream. My complete lucid dream journal is included in the appendix. (Editors Note: Information on obtaining a copy of Jill’s thesis is available from her: Jill Gregory, 29 Truman Dr., Novato, CA, 94947)


            I had my first lucid dream in 1976. It made a major impression upon me. I wanted another one right away, but it was 13 months until my second lucid dream. In the seven-and-a-half-year period during which I kept a lucid dream journal, I totaled sixty-two lucid dreams. I consider myself to be an infrequent lucid dreamer, averaging about one a month.


            To answer the first question regarding why I began to lucid dream, I examined diaries, calendars, and other chronicles of my life. (I keep piles of little notes and papers about my life in drawers.) After reviewing this material, I postulated three reasons: One is my prior dreamwork. I had remembered and attempted to understand my dreams since the age of four. I have recorded my dreams since the age of nineteen - in other words, for twelve years. I attempted to increase my memory for detail while in the dream and to increase my capacity to remember my dreams. This resulted in my recording four to six dreams per night and spending an average of four hours writing them down by hand and analyzing them the subsequent day. I was quite literally immersed in my dream life.


            The second reason was that I had used psychotropic drugs which had provided me with experiences that were similar to lucid dreaming. I worked through the initial fear of experiencing an altered reality primarily with peyote and LSD, so that being awake in my dreams became less frightening. It also played a role in familiarizing me with the experience of functioning on two different levels at the same time. In a drug-induced experience I observe myself ex­periencing images that I know to be other than normal waking reality. This parallels my lucid dream ex­perience of observing myself in the sleep state. I feel awake and aware in both states (drug and sleep).


            The third reason was that I was developing my observer self in the waking state. I was practicing witnessing techniques; by observing myself throughout the day, (for example, how I related to authority figures); by becoming more aware with psychotherapeutic techniques; and by becoming more aware and responsible for my own life in general. So my internal observer was becoming more functional during waking life.


            These three reasons for beginning lucid dreaming have, as a common denominator an overlap of conscious material with unconscious material. I think in there lies a key to initiating lucid dreaming.


            I began lucid dreaming when I was six-and-a-half months pregnant, and I believe that being pregnant helped to trigger the breakthrough of lucidity. Since I was preparing for parenthood for the first time, almost every area of my life was undergoing sig­nificant change. This required that I pay careful attention to a multitude of details in order to cope. So, you see, I was in a state of heightened awareness. I was also waking up frequently throughout the night and taking short naps during the day which, again, increased the overlap of conscious and unconscious material.


            Why did I not dream lucidly before, after remembering so many dreams? Well, probably because I had never heard of lucid dreaming and did not believe such a thing existed. For instance, a strange cue in a dream which was unlike waking-life reality would be inter­preted by my dream self as the ingestion of drugs or that I was in outer space or in the afterlife. Now such cues trigger lucidity. I considered the dreams I had then to be pre-lucid. If I had them now they would be lucid. As soon as I had my first lucid dream all my pre-lucid dreams ended. Although most of my dreams are still ordinary, non-lucid dreams.


            Studying my development as a lucid dreamer, I looked at many different lines of analysis - including frequency, duration, ability to alter imagery, locomo­tion, intentionality, using the lucid dream state to search for the message of the dream, and methods of entry. Nearly every area of lucid dream skills im­proved during this time, often very dramatically. I’d like to elaborate on these areas now


Frequency: As Table 1 shows, my lucid dream rate has increased dramatically across time. From 1976 to 1978, I had six lucid dreams. From 1979 to 1981, there were 21, and from 1982 to 1984, 35 lucid dreams occurred. It surprised me to find that three dif­ferent years showed a decrease in frequency of lucid dreaming from the previous year.


Duration: I did a word count on the written record of the first fifteen lucid dreams and the last fifteen. The amount of written material I recorded about my lucid dream states jumped from 14027 to 7954 total words




Ability to Alter Imagery: When I examined the in­stances in which I added dream imagery while in the lucid dream state, I discovered that in the first fifteen dreams I added imagery once, while in the last fifteen dreams, I did so twelve times. I modified imagery already present in the dream twelve times during the first fifteen dreams and forty-seven times in the final fifteen dreams. And lastly, there were four examples of terminating imagery in the final fifteen dreams and only one such example during the first fifteen dreams. So we see clear increases in the frequency of altering imagery in each major category. It is interesting to note that I never modified a dream object - only aspects of myself or of dream characters (animals or people). This was true for the entire journal despite the fact that I added and terminated dream objects as well as myself and characters.


Locomotion: Initially flying was slow, tiring, low in altitude, limited in range, and fraught with ob­stacles. Over time I learned to soar, zoom, levitate, pass through obstacles, fly easily and at great speed in a variety of positions, go to any location that I fancied, and to leave my body and re-enter it at will.


Intentionality: This is the ability to intend to move out of one state of consciousness into another and to do so. For example, a dreamer can choose to leave the lucid dream state and to enter the waking state, the non-lucid dream state or some other state. In my study I found that my ability to intentionally move from the lucid dream state to another state of aware­ness greatly increased over time.


Using the Lucid Dream State to Search for the Message of the Dream: I was increasingly successful throughout the journal in using the lucid dream state to search for the message of the dream and in arriving at a sense of resolution.


Methods of Entry: I found seven methods of entry into the lucid dream state which I think are important. First is lucidity maintained from the waking state; this has only happened twice, but it’s really nice. I like this one. Second is lucidity maintained from an altered dream state. I don’t want to get into a long description here of altered dream states, but it’s one method of entry. It feels very different than any other kind of dream. Third is lucidity triggered by expanding hypnagogic imagery. Fourth is lucidity triggered by external stimulus, such as something going on in the room. Fifth is lucidity triggered by mental exhaustion, produced by dream content. By far, the most frequently utilized category is the sixth or the critical faculty, where you notice something is not quite right, and you reason your way to lucidity. Toward the end of the journal, lucid dreaming is almost always triggered by critical faculty. The next most frequent category is the seventh: strong emo­tion, which was predominantly fear. This usually occurred at the beginning of the journal. I’d be in a nightmare, and then I’d realize it was a dream, and I’d be very relieved.


            I’d like to talk now about my uses of lucidity. The most frequently occurring were: (1) to understand the dream, (2) to maximize pleasure, (3) to develop dream skills, (4) to more fully experience the dream, and (5) to explore altered states of consciousness. Maximizing pleasure and exploring altered states showed the largest increase over time whereas develop­ing dream skills faded over time.


            I listed quite a few factors accompanying termination. When I asked what kinds of things were happening when I would move out or lucidity, I noticed that one or more of the following factors were in effect: very strong emotion, paralysis of forward movement (such as indecision or blank mind), external disturbance, falling asleep within the dream, attempting to awaken, avoidance of a dream challenge, questioning the dream state, devaluing what was happening, powerful realiza­tion, or sense of resolution.


            Having summarized these lines of analysis, I will move on to discuss the third area of my research why I continue to lucid dream. In my study, I concluded that there are multiple causes for my continued lucid dreaming. Of these, some are the same as those hypothesized to be operative in the original eruption of dream lucidity - such as the overlap of material from the waking state into the dream state in conjunction with the overlap of material from the dream state into the waking state. Others are unintentional inducers such as a desire for lucid dreams, accumulation of experience in the lucid dream state, stimulation on the topic of lucid dreams and preparedness for lucidity by having goals and plans of action ready for the utilization of the lucid dream state. I also celebrated my lucid dreams in a variety of ways.


            The final group of inducers are those in which I deliberately attempted to elicit lucid dreams. Examples of these are auto-suggestion and self-hypnosis; variations of LaBerge’s MILD technique, and mental concentration to carry waking consciousness into the dream state. Of all of these original, unintentional, and intentional lucid dream inducers, the only one that correlated with variations in my rate of lucid dreaming was the category “Stimulation on the Topic.”


LaBerge: Our next speaker, George Gillespie, will describe a very interesting series of experiments that he’s been doing in his dream state. Although it will probably be a bit of a surprise to ask him to present this, I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about your approach, George, and your unique way of doing things?


Gillespie: I think some comparisons with the other panel members would be interesting. I mean, how I am or am not like others. I began as a child, having what are called out-of-body experiences. It never occurred to me that I was actually out of the body. I had done that off and on for almost 30 years before I ever had a lucid dream. I rarely have recurrent dreams, and I have not had, except one on occasion that I can think of, a consecutive dream in which I picked up where I had left off. So there are some individual differences there. I did not try to have lucid dreams. I knew nothing at all about lucid dreams. I had never heard of them. They just started. They came to me. And in fact, I had lucid dreams for a couple of years before I knew other people did. That’s why I felt it necessary to write everything down. I thought mine might be the only ones. I’ve only had maybe five nightmares in my life, that I can think of. And as for bad dreams scaring me into becoming lucid, I just can’t say it ever hap­pened, even though I’ve had, up to now, about 460 lucid dreams.


            I used my dreaming for experiments. From the begin­ning, I thought, “Well I have this opportunity, what am I going to do with it?” So I planned experiments to carry through, during the dreaming. For instance, I had written some poetry while awake so I thought, “I’ll try writing a couple of lines of poetry”, (that is, composing it since writing doesn’t work in a dream.) Just a couple of lines of poetry while dream­ing, to test the mind and how it works. Additionally, I went through a series of experiments in which, as soon as I knew I dreaming, I would put objects I saw in alphabetical order. Such as - door, wall... door, seat, wall. I’d try to do up to 4 or 5 objects.


            I’ve never taken drugs. I did not go into lucid dreams as a religious thing. I went several years without anything religious ever occurring to me. This is in light of what I said in my earlier paper. It never occurred to me that it would be a religious thing or that it could be a religious thing. I do not meditate. I never had a guru. I never followed the meditative procedure. It was just that one of my experiments was to work with the concept of dreamless sleep, which you find mentioned in Hinduism. So I was trying different ways to eliminate dreaming without waking up. I began by closing my eyes. Then I might push the table away from me, but I still have this seat under me and people poking me. I found out that the best way is to simply concentrate on the darkness in front of me. That sort of took care of the other things. Now, I don’t know what impression I gave with my paper earlier in this symposium, but in that paper I simply described phenomena. I don’t know whether I left you thinking I was a believer or an unbeliever, but I am an ordained Baptist clergyman. I was a missionary in India when I started lucid dreaming.


            I never had a problem waking up. I think the problem would be waking up when I didn’t want to. Thinking of what some of you said about not being able to wake up - one time, I could not wake up and that was when the experiment was to count through the dreaming, through waking up and into being awake to show the continuity of consciousness. I got up to almost 300. I just couldn’t wake up. I did this several times and I found the same problem. I haven’t really analyzed why, at that moment, I could not wake up. Excitement never awakened me. I think I would not have had some of the experiences that I have had if excitement did awaken me. People have said, that if you get too excited, too emotional, that you to wake up. It just never woke me up. I mentioned in my earlier paper about having great joy or devotion in the dream. I do get excited, and maybe you get a frame of mind in which you believe if you get excited, you are going to wake up and you do because you believe it. I think a lot of reactions in the lucid dream are that way.


            The same is true with dream falling. If you think you’re going to hit, you’re going to hit. Once I got it into my mind that I could fall without hitting, I could fall in a dream. I just do it on purpose. I just leap and let myself fall. To me, falling is very much like flying. There’s almost no difference except the direction you’re going. In fact, I had an occa­sion that really made me realize that the two, falling and flying, are very much like just staying still and having the wind blow against me. I have changed from one to the other, without seeing any real change. It was all in the mind.


             I do have the vibration and I have the buzzing. The vibration was felt all over, sort of like you’re on a vibrator. The buzzing is something which is both audible and felt in the head. That’s usually as­sociated with projecting, although, not always. I had a dream recently where I took out (this was not lucid, come to think of it) my handkerchief and used it as an electric shaver and went buzzzzzz with it over my cheeks and it was the same exact buzzing. I did my whole beard and it felt nice afterwards.


            I’m not sure what is meant by the tunnel effect. I can’t say I’ve ever had the tunnel effect, but I suspect it’s not very different from falling. I don’t know whether you feel the tunnel or you’re simply shooting off. And maybe the tunnel is just one way of looking at it. The same is true with the vortex: I can’t say I know quite what that is. Maybe that’s something else you get into. You get into some of these things and they keep repeating themselves and you build up your dream mythology.


            I’ve had experiences directly related to my old ex­periences of being out-of-body. When it happens between being awake and asleep, you first find your­self paralyzed, then you rise out of it. But if you’re dreaming already, you’re not aware of that body in bed. I’m not. If I have it outside the dream, I’m aware of my actual body in bed and that I’m rising out of it. But when I’m dreaming, I don’t know where that body is anyway and I don’t feel it. So if I withdraw attention from my feet, I flip up and then it comes out exactly the same thing for me as having an OBE when half-awake.


            I’ve had one occasion, which I’m not sure how to analyze, which would under different circumstances be called a near-death experience. I have no reason to believe I was near death. However, it was a near-death experience. It was a death experience in fact. I mean, I knew I died. Its relationship to lucid dreaming was clear.


LaBerge: Thank you. Now we’ll hear from Henri Rojouan, from France. He is working on a book about his lucid dream experiences, which he’ll tell you about.


Rojouan: Well, it’s somewhat awkward for me to talk in English. I’m afraid I’m not as fluent as the five Americans before me, but I’ll do my best. I live in eastern France, in a small village of 140 people. I have been living there for about three years by myself. Before that, I lived in Belgium; and before Belgium I lived in Paris. My experiences in lucid dreaming are very close to some of the others on this panel. Although I started very late being a lucid dreamer, I rocketed up to the skies in frequency, because between October of 1983 and now (June, 1985), I have had 350 lucid dreams. Sometimes at the rate of five a night. The first lucid dream I had, probably took place in 1970. At the time I did not pay any particular attention to my dreams. I was greatly impressed by this lucid dream - which I thought was some kind of hallucination - but did not make any record of it. Between 1970 and 1981, I’ve probably had 20 lucid dreams, certainly not more. Suddenly, on the night of October 30th, I really started lucid dreaming. I think I know the reason, although I may be utterly wrong. First I noticed that all my preced­ing lucid dreams had occurred late in the night or early in the morning, at the end of a long period of insomnia. For years I suffered from insomnia. My experiences in extensive lucid dreaming first occurred when, for a domestic reason, I had to get up earlier and earlier. I now go to bed around 11:30, get up at 11:00, make myself some coffee, read or write, and return to bed at about 6:00 or 6:30, until 8:30 or 9:00. I’m pretty sure that these lucid dreaming activities are connected with the interruption of sleep. As in the first stage of my lucid dream life, between 1970 and 1981, they too were connected with short sleep, but then coming from insomnia. I prob­ably have between 5 and 10 dreams a night, most during the unconscious period between 11:30 and 4:00 which I remember irregularly. Sometimes they are very clear, and I completely forget about them. Suddenly one night I started lucid dreaming without knowing the reason why. I watched myself; watched my diet; watched where I slept as well as the way I slept; if I am lying on my right side, on my back. I’ve never been able to find a definite clue leading to an explanation. A very large majority of my lucid dreams occur between 6:30 and 8:00. When I return to bed at 6:00 or 6:30, I do not meditate, but I think about various things, so my actual sleeping time is maybe one and a half or two hours, and within this one and a half to two hour slot, I may have 5 lucid dreams.


            I feel greatly indebted to Patricia Garfield. She did not teach me how to induce lucid dreams, because they came quite naturally to me. From Garfield I learned something which I never had thought possible: Change the course of what I named “reves Hallucinatoires”. Reading Creative Dreaming, at first I could not believe in a dreamer’s ability to bring somebody - not to say anybody - into his dreams. To me this sounded like nonsense. Two or three weeks later I found out it was not. About 7:00 in the morning of 7 January, 1984, I made THE discovery of my life: lucidly flying over the next-door playground of my teenage years, where seemingly the ruins of a vaulted medieval cathedral had just been excavated, I suddenly remem­bered the unbelievable. Thinking of “Her”, without naming her, I just said “Give me your hand”; within the next second a “soft little hand” squeezed my left hand. I looked, and could see nothing at first. Soon, however, the hand I could feel holding mine materialized, and then the whole figure of an unknown young woman flying along with me in long floating white veils. It was not “Her”, as you may have guessed. It’s not until January 16 that she heard my call and paid me her first visit. Believe it or not my whole life has been changed ever since. Really it’s fantastic, still unbelievable, but now I believe in the unbelievable. You know I’m “a poor lonesome cowboy of Eastern France”, I can spend a week without talking to anybody, but I don’t feel loneliness at all. The best of my life now occurs in my lucid dreams; and when I say “best”, it’s really “the best of the best”. In many respects I have learned that a genuine shadow may be better than a fake reality. When I return to bed, at 6:00 in the morning, I’m just wondering what’s going to happen next? Will she come and visit me?


LaBerge: Well, since we’ve got a little extra time, I’ll make a few remarks about my own experiences. I don’t want to go into detail, because they are described in detail in my book (Lucid Dreaming, 1985, L.A.: Jeremy Tarcher) if you’re interested in finding out more. There are also a few points which came up here that I thought I might bring attention to. One is the effect of expectation. I have found that it is true in my dreams that once I decided that “this is the way things are in my dreams”, it is very difficult to have it be any other way. It is a problem also of not recognizing that you have expectations. For the last seven or eight years, I have recorded every remembered lucid dream or fragment -  interesting or not. At this point, my record contains over 900. The reverse has happened with me and my dream record as compared to Jill’s: my lucid dream reports are getting shorter. I don’t believe my lucid dreams are getting shorter; I’m just getting tired of writing them down! That is a problem with having too much content.


            One thing I have done with my lucid dreams has been to keep track of exactly what time each occurred, and I have also recorded the time I went to bed every night.

So I have many hundreds of samples of the temporal distribution of lucid dreams. From this I have been able to draw various conclusions, such as the fact that there seems to be a clustering effect; if you’ve had one lucid dream on a night, it’s more probable that you’ll have another than would be expected by chance. I think there are various reasons why this might be true, such as that once you’ve figured out how to do it then it’s easier to do it again; you’ve got the right frame of mind. It is not that lucid dreaming is a limited resource, and once you’ve had one then you cannot again for a while. Quite the opposite, it seems that they cluster together, and the more you have, the more you are likely to have. Another thing I discovered, when I plotted the temporal distribution of my lucid dreams, is that they fell into the typical cyclic times characteristic of the distribution of REM periods in the night, i.e. approximately every 90 minutes, except later in the night when REM periods get closer together. In fact, from those 900 lucid dreams, only two of them occurred at less than 60 minutes after bedtime. From this it seems that for me, at least, having sleep-onset and non-REM kinds of lucid dreams (at least early in the night) is a very unusual experience. I think that if more lucid dreamers keeping journals would also keep track of these numbers (bedtime and time of lucid dreams) we could answer more questions along these lines. Also, I noticed that there were various changes that occurred in my dreams over time, partly having to do with my new learnings, and partly having to do with the development of expectation. One ex­ample is “false awakenings”. This is when you dream you wake up, but you haven’t actually awakened. In my first year recording dreams, this was a very infre­quent occurrence, but after 50 or so lucid dreams, I started having more and more false awakenings I believe that what was going on was that I would be in a dream, it would start to fade, and I would think, “Oh, the dream is about to end and I’m going to wake up.” So, I was progressively developing an expecta­tion in my lucid dreams. It is only in a lucid dream that you say, “Here, it’s fading and I’m going to wake up.” I started to have false awakenings more and more frequently, to the point where it began to annoy me. I thought, “Why should I be lucid one moment and then accept the most ridiculous absurdity; I’d wake up at the dinner table or something - and not notice that I was still dreaming.”


            I tried to work out a method of staying asleep or taking my consciousness across that barrier into the next dream somehow. I accidentally discovered a method of doing that, which was spinning in the dream. Originally I had reasoned that in order to prevent awakening - the opposite of Beverly’s experience -  perhaps if I could relax my body completely that would suppress muscle movements in my physical body and help prevent me from awakening. It doesn’t turn out to be a good idea, but I did this just by falling backwards, and I found I had a false awakening instead of waking up; I went into another dream rather than awakening at that point. I tried this again and produced more of these false awakenings. So the next day I said, “Well, false awakenings are interesting, but why couldn’t they be lucid?” Then I realized all I had to do was remember as I was falling or spinning that the next thing that would happen, no matter what it felt like, would be a dream. I had to rehearse that in short-term memory as I went through the action. I found that by doing this all of those false awakenings could be converted into intentional dreams of awaken­ing, or in some cases, it would be possible to dream of going to some other place. But you see again, here expectation played a role for me, because I developed spinning in the context of false awakenings. I developed the strong expectation that the kind of dream I would end up in next, once I finished spin­ning, would be in my bedroom. Out of several hundred experiences of intentional dreams of awakening, in 95% I ended up in a dream bedroom, in spite of my since then trying to end up someplace else. However, I find when I give this technique out to people without saying where you end up, they don’t end up in their bedrooms. In fact, when I suggest to people that they can end up wherever they think they’d like to go, then that seems to work. It is, I think, important in developing lucid dreaming, to be very careful about what you think are the limitations in it. These self-imposed limitations tend to get difficult to remove once they have been habituated. That’s about all I have to say. If there is anyone else in the panel who would like to make more comments, please do so.


Audience Question: I understand that your false awakenings occur at the end of lucid dreams.


Rojouan: My false awakenings start lucid dreams.


LaBerge: So you mean that you dream you wake up, and then you realize you’re not really awake?


Rojouan: Yes.


Gregory: I had an experience which I include in my thesis that I call the false staying awake. This experience could be seen as a false waking state along with false awakenings as we usually think of them. I am suggesting that we regard the broad category to be false waking states with the subcategories of false staying awakes and false awakenings.


            In this type of experience, I do not believe myself to have awakened and to subsequently discover that I am still dreaming, but rather, I believe myself to have stayed awake. In this instance, I had slept all night, awakened, and was waiting for my husband to bring me breakfast in bed. At this point, I dozed off, but did not realize it. I then had a brief dream that was quite realistic; it was a false waking ex­perience, but there was nothing about believing that I had awakened. I just felt like I had stayed awake. When my husband woke me with breakfast, I was com­pletely perplexed. When I realized in the false waking state that I was asleep, I did not think of it as physical sleep, as in my other false awakenings.


            In false awakenings I feel very awake and functional. In this experience, I was mentally asleep. I felt as though I needed a cup of coffee right away, so I walked to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee to men­tally wake up, still believing I was awake until my husband shook me, saying “Wake up! Wake up!” When I awoke I was completely disoriented. With false awake­nings, I feel relieved when I actually awaken. I feel grounded and centered - not disoriented as I did in this experience.


Audience Question: There are similarities between the lucid dreaming reports I have heard, and the Shaman’s magical flight. I assume that most of you have ex­perienced flying in some form, or floating in some form, in your lucid experiences. Have any of you experienced the opposite which might be purposely descending? I’m thinking of a sort of going to the center of the earth.


Kedzierski: When I used to fly like Superman in my lucid dreams I would try to avoid running into telephone poles. After I started flying through objects I tried flying straight through the ground and into the center of the earth. And as long as I ex­pected that I could do things, such as breathe, I was fine. I noticed that when I moved through physical objects, particularly the earth, I would experience a buzzing sensation. Perhaps this is similar to the buzzing that somebody else mentioned. I don’t notice any buzzing sensation in other lucid dreams. The buzzing might be occurring because I picture my molecules merging with the molecules of other matter, causing a kind of vibration.


Gillespie: Can I respond to that? I have the buzzing. I have the vibrations. I also pass through walls. The passing through walls to me is a different sensation. One of my tests was to test the solidity of things. Like, “Oh, I’m dreaming,” then tapping the table, this feels real. Then I put my hand through the table. Next it feels real again. That type of thing. Or pass through a wall. I had different effects, one was what I call the putty effect. I mean, the thing would bend. I would put my hand in, and I could pull it apart. With the other effect, which I call the liquid effect, my hand would go through, but I would feel it. So I could go through a lot of things, but I could never go through without feeling it. I tried it over and over again. I’m going to go through this thing without feeling it, but I would always feel it. It was like passing your hand through water, you feel something, except the water has this shape. I feel a substance, but it is not the buzzing, or a vibration. I feel it only where my body and the object coincide.


LaBerge: One of the things that you see in the Shamanistic tradition is that you go down to the underworld, in your dream, and you meet a monster. Then you struggle with the monster somehow, and you gain something from it. What I see that you can gain by this is something internal; you gain the power of facing your fears and dealing with difficulties. Certainly, lucid dreaming seems to be very good for this. I have noticed a difference in terms of whether, as I walk into a house, I decide to go downstairs or upstairs. The tendency is when I go downstairs, I’m more likely to come up with interest­ing unconscious encounters. When I go into caves, or down in the dungeon it becomes especially interesting. So, if anybody would like to do this, all you have to do is use the imagery of going down into the earth somehow, and you will find things there. But it’s also interesting to see what’s in the skies or in the sun or beyond.


Audience Question: Could you comment on the “saying your name” in a dream phenomena?


LaBerge: As I described in my book, and in my disser­tation, there has been a tradition starting with Ouspensky, that you couldn’t say your name in a dream without awakening. I think this is one of those cases where once you hear you can’t do something, you try and sure enough, it’s difficult. I don’t think there’s any more problem with saying your name than there is with any kind of self-talk. I think this also applies to the excellent point which George made about the problem of waking up due to excitement. I think part of what contributes to that is the thought, “Uh, oh! I’m excited now, that means....” All this kind of reflection, or the experience of thinking about the dream, tends to cause the dream to destabilize. I think, to keep in the dream, you have to keep acting; you have to keep perceptually engaged in what’s going on around you.


Audience Question: But what happens when you say your name then?


LaBerge: Stephen. I am Stephen. Now what happened? Nothing? Yes, I hear my name, that’s all. Nothing else, that’s all.


Gillespie: I agree, nothing happens.


LaBerge: I would like to do a controlled experiment and ask someone to say my name in a dream, and see what happens. This happens in letters people write me: I started chanting your name, and the dream world started shaking!


Audience Question: I wanted to ask whether any of you have experienced characteristics of my own lucid dreams that are very, very common to me. The way I stabilized the lucid state is to go for something that I can touch and hold on to it. It’s a wonderful experience and it stabilizes the state.


LaBerge: I had the experience. In fact, touching things and gaining a perceptual grasp of the dream has been an important point. I haven’t found it has an effect as the particular form of kinesthetic movement, spinning, in terms of keeping a dream once you’re about to wake up.


Kedzierski: It is so natural for me to be lucid in a dream that I don’t need to stop and say “I’m dreaming.” I just continue the dream. Lucidity is just another state. However, when I’m in the laboratory, I need to signal as soon as I realize that I am lucid. While I’m doing an activity in an experi­ment, such as counting to 20, I often toss around objects or fly from place to place. I can keep a dream stable by concentrating on or manipulating the environment.


Gillespie: I wonder whether it’s the touching itself that keeps this stable. I understand that touching is keeping you going, but in my experience I think of it as trying to keep interaction with the dream environment. If I start thinking, now what do I do next or if I just start thinking, it all goes away, and I wake up. And so I think, even though I’m doing this thinking experiment, I’ll keep walking while I do it, and I’ll keep looking at things. So it’s sort of just keeping this thing going between me and what I’m seeing. Touching would do the same thing.


Kedzierski: I’ve been able to analyze my dream within the dream, without waking up. Sometimes everything disappears and I experience a grey state, but I don’t necessarily wake up until I am ready.


LaBerge: One last comment from Jill.


Gregory: I have discovered three variations of plant­ing a cue to help me maintain lucidity.


            The first is to plant a cue in each dream scene as it is occurring. For example, in one dream I covered an auditorium floor with giant iridescent fish scales and as the dream continued, the reflected light from the scales would shimmer on everything and keep me lucid.


            The second variation is placing a cue that will follow you from dream scene to dream scene and keep you lucid. An example of this is a dream in which I sit a clone of myself in a chair at the sidelines, recording the dream. This was Jill, the dream recorder and I’d laugh, looking over and say, “oh yes, it’s a dream - she’s writing it down - I’m writing it down.” Jill, the dream recorder, would follow me from dream scene to dream scene. She also helped me to remember the scenes afterward.


            The third variation is simply trusting that as you move to a new dream scene a new cue will present itself to you.



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Physiological Mechanisms of Lucid Dreaming



Stephen LaBerge

Sleep Research Center

Stanford University


            For those of you here who aren’t familiar with the general approach we have been using in our research on lucid dreaming I will briefly describe it. We’ve been having talented lucid dreamers, like Beverly Kedzierski, enter the dream state on a particular mission. Before they go to sleep we arrange that once they realize they are dreaming they will make an eye movement signal by moving their eyes left, right, left, right. Figure 1 is a typical example of such a lucid dream - it’s actually a little better than average, because we have the last 8 minutes of a 30 minute REM period. When the subject woke up he reported that he had made five signals, which you can see in the part of the dream preceding the awakening. The channels we recorded for this experiment were: an EEG channel on the top of the chart, two eye movement channels in the middle, and chin muscle tone on the bottom. For those of you who are not familiar with sleep research, one can determine what stage of sleep a person is in using the classical scoring by means of these three parameters. The part of the record with the lucid dream is all REM sleep, as you can see by the rapid eye movements, low muscle tone, and ap­propriate brain waves. The first signal, given at number one, is when the subject realized he was dreaming. He made the correct signal. The next thing that happened was that he flew around and did other things he enjoys doing in his lucid dreams until about a minute and a half later, when it seemed to him that he had awoken. So, he made the appropriate signal to indicate an awakening. We have subjects signal not only when they become lucid, but also when their lucid dreams end and they think they have awoken. This is because of cases like this; when you look at the record, you see that both before and after his wake signal he is still in REM sleep. He is only dreaming that he is awake; he’s had a “false awakening.” He dreams on for a while and then odd things begin to happen. At one point the technician in the dream is taking off the subject’s electrodes and treating him impolitely, and he realizes that this doesn’t happen at Stanford, so he must still be dreaming. Then he makes another signal, marked in Figure 1 by number three, which means that he knows that he is dreaming again. However, he realized that he didn’t do it quite right, so he repeated it properly. You see at number three he has made actually six eye movements, rather than the agreed upon four. He dreams on and at the end he truly wakes up.




            We rely on both the physiological and the psychologi­cal records together to determine the subject’s state of consciousness. At the end of the dream, he ac­tually is awake, and we say he’s awake because we see muscle tone and movement artifact, so we know he is moving around. Here, at the false awakening, we say he’s still in REM sleep because the EEG has not changed. It’s hard to see at this scale, but it is still mainly delta waves, with theta and a little alpha here and there. The EMG also didn’t change, proving that he’s still in the dream state there. It’s only because he’s given the waking signal while still dreaming that we could conclude without even seeing the report that, in all likelihood, he had just had a false awakening. True, sometimes people will give the wrong signal, so that a subject would give what looks like a false awakening signal and then in the report say, “So, I signaled that I knew I was dreaming.” This would be what the subject does for signals, making a mistake about it and not noticing, or else saying, “And I knew I didn’t do it right, but, you know, I hope it worked.” People vary in how carefully they do this.


            The important thing about this subject making six eye movements, then realizing that that was not right and repeating the signal correctly is that it shows he is monitoring his actions critically. He is using deliberate consciousness to do this. He is noticing, “I’m supposed to do this, but I did not do it correctly.” Therefore, he is critically “awake”. This is the variety of lucid dreams we have been studying, ones in which people are explicitly conscious that they are dreaming; there is not any doubt. We don’t have to ask them afterwards, “Did you know if you were dreaming?” The subjects know not merely that they are dreaming, but that they are in the sleep lab and that they’re there for a purpose - in order to signal the beginning of the lucid dream, and then carry out whatever other experiments have been planned for the dream state. This is different from some other levels of lucid dreaming that exist for people who don’t attain full lucidity, but who may have some sense of what it’s like to know they are dreaming. We’re not studying that in this case. We’re studying a very specific type of lucid dream.


            Now we will take a look at how we have been examining the physiology of lucid dreaming. To begin, there are variations in how much eye movement activity occurs in different parts of the dream. In the first part of the dream shown in Figure 1 there is not much eye movement activity. Right before the lucid dream there is more. What we have done is take 76 lucid dreams, from 13 subjects, of this variety, all unambiguously signaled so that we were certain where lucidity began. Beginning from these signals, we divided up the entire REM periods into 30 second periods before and after the onset of lucidity. We looked at respiration rate, finger pulse amplitude, and eye movement density in the periods before and after lucidity, and our results are displayed in Figure 2. These four plots are all the same. We are looking at standard scores, so the zeroes in all these cases are the mean values for the entire REM period. For example, taking REM density, we counted how many eye movements occurred in each 30 second period for the whole REM period. For each subject we converted these counts to standard (z) scores. Then we averaged these across subjects. The number of dreams contributed by each subject varied from 1 to 25. Beverly contributed 25 lucid dreams, but we averaged all hers together so she contributed one z-score to the averages that you see here. Thus, for eye movement density we have 13 subjects each contributing an equal amount. You see that in the 30 seconds before the lucid dream begins there is a significant elevation of eye movement activity, and also of respiration rate and frequency of skin poten­tial responses. There’s a trend toward an increase in the heart rate, but it doesn’t increase significantly until later in the lucid dream. The stars mean that the elevation is statistically significant.



Histograms of mean z-score for EM, RR, HR and SP. Bins are 30 sec in length with t = 0 representing the signaled onset of lucidity. Na very with variable and bin, nut all values are averaged across lucid dreams and subjects (* p < .05).

            You can also see that once the lucid dream has begun, the physiological activation continues, and in some cases increases. So, we can see quite clearly that lucid dreams are more activated than normal REM on the average. There is an extra increase of activation at the initiations, the point at which the subject real­izes he or she is dreaming, that you can see especially in the skin potential responses, which are very frequent at this point. In fact, the occurrence of skin potential responses in REM is almost an easy way to tell when a lucid dream starts, because skin potential responses in REM sleep are fairly uncommon, yet when they occur they are very frequently as­sociated with lucid dreams. Another interesting thing to note about these measures I’ve presented here is that they are all measures of sympathetic activation. Since all of these factors are increasing at the onset of lucidity, clearly what is happening is that lucid dreams are occurring in one of the two main varieties of REM sleep: the one called “phasic REM.” The general background state is called “tonic REM”, upon which occasionally is superimposed phasic activation which may be present in varying degrees. Lucid dreams tend to occur in association with the highest degree of phasic activation. Phasic activation is respon­sible, among other things, for the active suppression of sensory input. I will return to this topic in the summary, but let us now turn to another analysis.


            We found that the dream reports fell into two categories. People either said that they had just awakened from a lucid dream with no awakening before, or they mention having been briefly awake before entering the lucid dream. That is, they were either continuously in the dream state, or else there was a mention of an awakening. When we looked at the physiological records of these dreams, we found that 100 percent of the wake (W) types had at least momen­tary awakenings somewhere in the two minutes before whereas something like 10 percent of the others did. So it seems quite clear that some lucid dreams are initiated from awakenings during REM; we call these wake-initiated lucid dreams (WILDs). They were the minority of our cases, only 25 percent were of this type. Some subjects, who contributed only one or two lucid dreams didn’t have any WILDs. But it is plain that at least two types of lucid dream occur, and this fits quite well with the experiential literature. We call the other type of lucid dream DILDs, for dream-initiated lucid dreams.


            We have gathered some interesting information on how these lucid dreams are initiated. What we did is measure the time at which lucid dreams occurred from the beginning of the REM periods. REM periods last from between 1 or 2 minutes to 115 minutes or an hour, depending on the time of night. Then we plotted the distribution of the lucid dreams within REM periods. Since our time is limited, we’ll just consider the combined lucid dream sample (LaBerge, 1985). It basically has two factors. One, it is a little flat at the beginning and then it decreases with time - this distribution is accounted for mainly by the survival function of REM periods. The fact is that there are many more REM periods that are at least 2 minutes in length than there are ones of at least 20 minutes in length. Consequently, you would expect to find more lucid dreams occurring at 2 minutes in length than at 20 minutes in length, other factors being equal. This is a gradually monotonically decreasing function which just tails off, but there are some exceptions, especially with the WILDs. At the beginning with the shorter REM periods, there are less cases than would be expected by the survivor function. The remainder of the variance can be accounted for by adding one other factor, such as eye movement density. REM density, if plotted across a REM period, starts out very low in the beginning. In the first two minutes of REM the eye-movement density and all the other physiological parameters are about three or four standard deviations below the mean value for the whole REM period. This means that the brain is not fully activated yet; it takes more time. This again fits with the activation picture that we saw in Figure 2, which showed that one only has lucid dreams if the brain is sufficiently activated. For that reason, lucidity tends not to happen in the first few minutes of a REM period.


            There is one last analyses which I want to discuss. We also have looked at the distribution of lucid dreams across REM periods (LaBerge, Levitan & Dement, in press). That is, how many lucid dreams happened in REM period one, two, three, and so on. Again, most of the variance is covered by two factors. One is simply the amount of total REM time available in each REM period. If you count up how many total minutes of REM period Number One there were in one night and how many total minutes of REM period Number Two, and so on, you will find that you can account for a lot of the dis­tribution by the amount of REM time. This is similar to the preceding results in that there is roughly a constant probability of having lucid dreams. Given the appropriate mental set where there is an opportunity for lucidity it will happen. However, there is one other factor which is almost as important: the REM period effect. In later REM periods of the night lucid dreams are much more likely to happen. What we deter­mined was the relative proportion of lucid dreams in each REM period segment. The number of lucid dreams per minute in REM period Number 1, 2, 3, 4 is linearly increasing, so that in REM period Number Two there is a higher likelihood of lucidity, and this is still higher in 3, and so on. It is a directly increasing result. What should we make of this?


            There is a phenomenon that has been described by David Cohen especially, called the hypothesis of Gradually Increasing Left Dominance or GILD. The reason this hypothesis seems to fit with these findings is that, in earlier REM periods of the night, the right hemi­sphere is involved in REM sleep, whereas as the night goes on you see less of a full right hemisphere type of activation and more mixtures with the emergence of left hemisphere activity. Now, in the lucid dream state it is clear that you’ve got to have an active left hemisphere, because that’s the one needed to say, “This is a dream.” That is the speaking hemisphere, and the more analytical hemisphere. Therefore, I think that GILD could easily account for the relative proportion of lucid dreams being greater in later REM periods. This also fits with the fact that many people have reported, “My lucid dreams typically happen after being in bed for eight or nine hours or late into the night.”


            To summarize what is indicated by our findings, although that the dream is a paradoxically activated state, the lucid dream is a very activated state. But the dreamer doesn’t wake up due to this activation. I think that’s part of the clue to why lucidity typi­cally happens in REM sleep, and apparently more rarely under other circumstances as yet undetermined, which Joe will mention later, in non-REM sleep. In REM sleep active processes are suppressing awakening. The more these processes are turned on, the less likely it is that you will wake up. So a positive feedback loop is activated. Perhaps because you’re so involved in the dream and constructing such a vivid reality there, it becomes still harder for sensory information to come in due to the fact that in order to perceive something you have to put it in context. If the context you have is in a dream, then this context does not include the external environment. What we see then is that physiological activation seems to be the main factor in determining the onset of lucid dreams. Another factor, obviously, is mental set, because if you haven’t got the mental set to do this it’s not going to happen. We could have plotted a thousand records from people who didn’t have lucid dreams, and they would have shown similar peaks and valleys. In their peak activation periods they never had lucid dreams, because they didn’t have the mental set.


            Obviously, there are many things we’re going to have to work out in the future, but so far the picture is quite straightforward in showing that activation is tremendously important in determining when lucid dreams happen.




LaBerge, S.P. (1985). The temporal distribution of lucid dreams, Sleep Research, 14, 113.

LaBerge, S.P., Levitan, L. & Dement, W.C. (in press). Lucid dreaming: Physiological correlates of consciousness during REM sleep. Journal of Mind and Behavior (special issue).


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H—Reflex in Lucid Dreams



Andrew Brylowski

University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Texas


            When I started medical school, I wanted to continue doing psychophysiological research into consciousness during REM sleep, but many of my mentors suggested that by definition this was impossible. I was going to have to come up with some sort of unequivocal proof that the phenomenon I was talking about was indeed REM sleep and not a micro-awakening. After collaborating with Stephen LaBerge, and others, and reviewing the literature, we decided that the best thing to do would be to continuously monitor H-reflex amplitude throughout the night, its suppression being a unique criterion of REM sleep.


            To induce the H-reflex, we stimulated the posterior tibial nerve, which is a nerve behind your knee, every 5 seconds to produce a contraction of the soleus muscle, which was then recorded as a pen deflection on the polygraph record. What the literature had docu­mented was that the H-reflex amplitude was variably present in all states of non-REM sleep and wakeful­ness, but during REM sleep, when all your muscle tension is gone, and when you are in effect paralyzed and not receiving any sensory input from the external environment, this H-reflex is suppressed. By documenting H-reflex suppression during lucid dream­ing, we added further support to the growing body of knowledge that the phenomenon is indeed a REM sleep occurrence and not a micro-awakening.


            In Figure 1, the left side of the diagram is REM sleep with an eye movement signal indicating that I’m lucid, and the right side of the diagram is awake with eyes closed and an eye movement signal which we agreed means that I perceive myself to be awake. The top nine lines are brain wave activity, followed by three lines for eye movements, a line each for finger pulse, submental muscle tension, heart rate and H-reflex, and two lines for respiration.


            The dream behind this polygraph record was one in which I was not lucid. I was walking around minding my own business when all of a sudden Jimmy Stewart started to talk with me. I immediately realized I was dreaming, since Jimmy Stewart normally doesn’t come and talk with me. I decided to signal left-right, left-right, up-down, up-down, left-right, left-right. I awakened shortly thereafter and made a left-right, left-right, left-right, left-right signal, which means that I perceive myself to be awake.




            The significant finding here is that the H-reflex is indeed suppressed during this reported lucid dream. 


            Figure 2 shows that the H-reflex is significantly more suppressed during lucid REM sleep than during any other stage of sleep or wakefulness. These statistics were generated by scoring each 5 second epoch within each REM period as awake, stage 1, stage 2, REM or lucid REM sleep. The H-reflex amplitude was measured after each 5 second epoch and 95% confidence limits were established. As you can see, the H-reflex is significantly more suppressed during lucid REM sleep than during any other stage. This would fit with a hypothesis that increasing brain activation during REM sleep leads to further active suppression of reflex activity.


            In the future, I hope to further investigate the physiology of lucid dreaming in order to better under­stand how the teaching of this skill to various patient populations may be useful as an adjunct to current treatment plans.


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EEG Cartography of a Night of Sleep



Pierre Etevenon

Centre Hospitalier and Inserm

Paris, France


            Quantitative analysis of EEGs has been applied since 1932 by using Rourier spectral analysis. However, it is only in 1963 that D.C. Walter was able to use Fast Fourier Transform algorithm (FFT) for computing power spectra. With the introduction of mini- and micro­computers, spectral analysis of EEG has been extensively developed. First, it was used for clinical pathology and pharmaco-EEG research. More that 800 references and almost 15 books are indicative of this growing trend. Quantitative EEG analysis was first applied to a few EEG channels. Pioneers like A. Remond in Paris, H. Petsche in Vienna, D. Lehmann in Zurich, have published articles on brain electrical field distributions over the scalp, applying quantitative EEG techniques to 32 electrodes and more. Only ten years ago S. Ueno published on “Topographic Computer Display of Abnormal EEG Activities in Patients with CNS Diseases.” We may consider that EEG cartography started with this publication, using all the resources of computerized imaging techniques. This was followed in 1979 by F.M. Doffy’s first articles on brain electrical EEG mapping (BEAM) and in 1982 by M.S. Buchsbaum and R. Coppola article describing “A New System for Gray-level Surface Distribution Maps of Electrical Activity”. In the same year, M.S. Buchsbaum published the first article on “Topographic Cortical. Mapping of EEG Sleep Stages During Day-time Naps in Normal Subjects.” This was followed by a growing research interest on EEG cartography in psychiatry, neurology, psychophysiology and pharmaco-EEG.


            Presently, with the exception of the M.S. Buchsbaum article, sleep studies have not been conducted with this new, noninvasive, functional, electrophysiological brain imaging method. This is why we have been interested in it and have applied EEG cartography to the first recording of a night under sleep in laboratory conditions.




            We recorded one night of sleep under sleep laboratory conditions. Sixteen EEC silver electrodes were glued with collodion to the scalp and continuously recorded over seven hours of sleep (REEGA 16, Alvar). The chosen montage was bilateral over the scalp (over the right hemisphere: Fp2, F4, F8, C4, T4, P4, T6, 02; over the left hemisphere: Fp1 F3, F7, C3, T3, P3, T5, 01) according to the 10/20 system of electrode positioning. We have chosen to use a common reference electrode instead of a monopolar linked ears reference electrode (Walter, Etevenon, Pidoux, Tortrat, & Guillou, 1984). A second polygraph (Minihuit Alvar) recorded the EOGs, the EMG of the chin muscles, the respiration, the EKG and the movements of the bed. The 16 EEGs were submitted online to spectral EEG analysis for periods of 6 seconds, 30 seconds or one minute. Spectral data were recorded on floppy discs, allowing later editions of EEG maps (Cartovar 2000, Alvar Electronics) for the raw EEG amplitude values; and three broad frequency band amplitude values (0-8c 8-13, 13-30 Hz). Spectral values were also fed into HP minicomputers (HP 1000 211.01 F) for further averag­ing and statistical comparisons.


            The subject was a normal woman of 55 years with a university background, presenting a high alpha amplitude with eyes closed. She was very well accus­tomed to EEG laboratory conditions and kept a dream diary as she was a good dream recaller. She was awakened three times; at the end of the first three sleep cycles and was asked for dream recall following drowsy sleep (stage 1) or stage REM (paradoxical sleep). Continuous recording of EEG brain waves provided 500 EEG maps during the night. These maps were topographically specific to each stage of sleep.


            An image by image 16 mm camera was placed in front of the micro-computer visual display console. A selec­tion of these EEG maps was filmed and presented visually at different speeds (cartooning of twenty seconds or two minutes for each sleep cycle), display­ing EEG changes over the scalp and showing the dynamic features of stages of sleep during the night. Typical EEG maps of drowsy sleep and REM phases were similar to EEG maps taken during arousal states (eyes opened or eyes closed).


            A movie (16mm, in colour, 12 minutes) was co-produced by CNRS Audiovisual and SPECIA. The first draft version was shown to the French EEG Society at Tours (June 11th, 1985) during a meeting on sleep, to the ASD meeting in Charlottesville, Virginia in late June of 1985 and to research seminars, in July and August of 1985, at the Brain Research Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles, and at the Dept. of Psychiatry, UCSF, San Francisco. Presently this movie is completed with additional results, with the co-production of Institute National Audiovisual.




            A scientific movie has been made of the first results obtained in this EEG cartography study of a night of sleep. It is impossible in this short summary to present the dynamic and pictural aspects of this movie. The electrical activity of the brain was changing every six seconds during the entire night. A drastic selection of EEG maps has been made, choosing 100 maps from over 500 recorded EEG maps. Furthermore, three frequency bands (delta + theta, alpha, beta) have been studied apart from the total raw EEG mapping activity (0 30Hz). This first study of a night of sleep required the edition of more than 2000 EEG maps: raw EEG and three broad frequency bands for absolute amplitude values computed over 16 EEG channels located on the scalp. Further averaging and statistical analyses were computed between EEC maps, according to each well defined stage of sleep based on Rechtschaffen and Kales sleep scoring manual.


            In the first two tables, we will present normative data from our statistical results. The first table shows that there is a linear trend of increased EEG amplitude in this sequence: the arousal, eyes open; REM periods; stage 1 of drowsiness; quiet arousal, eyes closed; stage II of light sleep and stages III and IV of slow wave sleep activities. This is in favor of Johnson’s hypothesis separating REM stages (II and III - IV).






            The second table presents mean amplitudes in microvolts of the six stages of vigilance and sleep as a function of the three basic frequency bands (slow waves activities delta + theta, alpha, beta). Based on these results REM and non-REM stages are well described by two lines drawn in a three dimensional display (with the three frequency band amplitude values having X, Y, and Z axes). One segment of the line starts with the stage of arousal, eyes open; REM; stage I and ends at the location (in the X, Y, Z space) of the spot for quiet arousal, eyes closed. The second line starts at this last point and follows the points of stage II, up to the stage III and IV loca­tion in the 3D graph.


            The third table gives the correlation coefficients computed between two sets of maximal mean amplitude values for EEG maps obtained for each stage of vigilance (eyes open, eyes closed) or sleep cycle (I, II, III-IV, REM). We may observe from this table that the raw EEG amplitude values are significantly correlated with the slow activities (delta + theta) for each stage (except eyes open, but this is probably because of a small sample of EEG maps). The raw EEG was also correlated with alpha and beta amplitude values for each stage: except for the first stage, “eyes open”, with beta activity, and for stage II, but according to the second table the amplitude values of these frequency bands are much smaller than delta + theta slow waves amplitude values. From these first results it appears that EEG maps based on; raw EEG amplitude values are sufficient to describe each stage of’ the vigilance and sleep cycle. However, correlations between frequency bands, amplitude values are smaller except for stage I and stages III — IV.










            EEG cartography of sleep fluctuations is a new tool for studying functional cortical activities projected over the scalp Moreover, we have tried to correlate dream content obtained after the awakening of the subject and the EEG maps prior to the awakening. Brain activation can be seen as a decrease in amplitude and an increase in frequency over a specific EEG electrode location. At the end of the first sleep cycle, our subject was awakened after six minutes of stage I. She reported an abstract fuzzy dream very quickly forgotten. The stage I EEG map (with a maxi­mal amplitude of 39 uV over left parietal and right frontal areas and minimal values over left temporal central area) was nevertheless quite similar to an EEG map obtained in active arousal, eyes open. In this case, we think that the hypnagogic imagery produced an “inner arousal state” but with a possible dissociation with recall and verbal expression of the dream content.


            After the second sleep cycle, the subject was awakened following 13 minutes of continuous REM stage sleep. She reported a visual dream. She was carrying luggage and taking a train. The EEG map of the related REM state presented a maximal amplitude value of 62 uV over left occipital area together with minimal values (activated areas) over left temporal and right parietal. We may suppose that the activated brain areas over the auditory cortex and left somato-motor area may be related to the ambient noise of the train station and the carrying of the luggage. The activated right visual area could be related to the visual activation in the dream.


            After the third sleep cycle, following 13 minutes of REM stage, the subject was awakened for the third time. She reported a visual and auditory dream where she was calling the mother of a dear friend. She saw the telephone on her desk and herself dialing and calling. She used her right hand for handling the phone and she recalled the lively conversation. The REM EEG map prior to the dream recall was very much like an EEG map taken during active arousal, eyes open. The maximal values (relaxed EEG areas) were of 38 uV over left parietal and occipital areas. The minimal values were a large diagonal strip between left temporal and right parietal with a minimum of 4 uV over the left central area (which may be considered as a contralateral somato-motor projection of the right hand).


            The last findings are only preliminary results and they need further confirmations with different sub­jects, different EEG montage, different reference electrodes. Despite these points, we think that EEG cartography applied to the study of vigilance states, sleep stages and REM studies related to dream contents, presents a major methodological tool for future research. For further details of this work see Etevenon et al., (1985a; 1985b) and Etevenon (1985).




Etevenon, P., Gaches, J., Debouzy, C., Guequen, B., & Peron-Magnan, P. (1985). EEG cartography I. By means of mini or microcomputers. Reliability and interest of this electrical non-invasive brain imagery. Neuropsychobiology, 13, 69-73.

Etevenon, P., Tortrat, P., Guillou, S., & Benkelfat, C. (1985). EEG cartography II. By means of statistical group studies. Activation by visual attention. Neuropsychobiology, 13, 141-146.

Etevenon, P. (1985). Applications and perspectives of EEG cartography. From reliability study towards an international atlas of brain electrical activity mapping (BEAM). In F.R. Puffy (Ed.), Topographic mapping of the brain (pp. 115—142). Boston: Butterworth.

Walter, P.O., Etevenon, P., Pidoux, B., Tortrat, P. & Guillou, 5. (1984). Computerized Topo-EEG spectral maps: Difficulties and perspectives. Neuropsychobiology, 11, 264-272.


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Alpha and Dream Lucidity



Harry Hunt

Department of Psychology

Brook University


             First I should begin with an apology. Of the three of us doing this work, Bob Ogilvie, Paul Tyson, and myself, I am the non-physiologist. But I am here and they’re not, so I will try and give you an idea of our work over the past few years and where we think it’s going, without being able to go into perhaps some of its more technical points.


             In our first two studies, a pilot study in 1978 (Ogilvie, Hunt, Sawicki. & McGowan, 1978) and our main one, first published in 1982 (Ogilvie, Hunt, Tyson, Lucescu & Jeakins, 1982) we found an association between heightened alpha rhythms in the REM EEC with subsequent waking recall of lucid dreams. The ex­perimental awakenings were based on high and low alpha readings for that subject’s normative RE2M EeG, which had already been established. We waited until they were at least 5 minutes into REM and then we looked for arousal artifact free 30 second periods charac­terized by high and low incidence of REM alpha. Heightened alpha seemed to go with lucid recall. Now it’s important to emphasize, as we’ll see, that these subjects were not experienced lucid dreamers. They had good dream recall. Most of them had laboratory experience, and there was a degree of lucidity reported in about half the awakenings. Paul Tyson has just published a reanalysis of this data (Tyson, Ogilvie & Hunt, 1984), which is a more precise spectral analysis, looking in particular at alpha and theta frequencies. His reanalysis shows that heightened alpha went with pre-lucid dreams, not with fully lucid dreams. These pre-lucid dreams tended to be highly bizarre in content, whereas the fully lucid and the non-lucid episodes tended to be less bizarre. He also found that fully lucid dreams tended to show heightened alpha early in the REM period which then dropped off. Furthermore, we found significant relations between incidents of dream bizarreness and heightened alpha during REM, which Alan Moffit’s group at Carleton has also found. But in the study I’m talking about here, alpha was a better statistical predictor of pre-lucidity than was bizarre content.


            Now the problem, of course, is that as far we can tell, other laboratories haven’t gotten this effect. We think there are two primary factors to consider here that may be responsible. First of all, the association is with pre-lucid dreams, i.e. with lucidity that is not as fully stabilized as that presented by LaBerge and Hearne. The second factor that we think may be important here is that we specifically filtered alpha rhythm out of the EEG and used that special filtering as the basis for ex­perimental awakening, no one else has done this. In addition, each subject was allowed to set their own alpha level, depending on average alpha during their REM periods. But we think filtering is particularly important. If you don’t filter specifically for alpha, we don’t think you have a chance to detect this phenomenon visually from an ordinary EEG recording. Finally, we question the frontal electrode placements in LaBerge’s work. These are not optimal for alpha recording.


            In our third study, which has only been reported so far by Bob Ogilvie at the SRS meeting in Italy a couple of years ago (Ogilvie & Wilkinson, 1983) , we found no alpha effect with lucidity or pre-lucidity, (although we lumped them together in that analysis). But most unfortunately we changed two parameters of the experiment in this third study. We changed the subjects from good recallers who we tried to train to experience lucid dreams to experienced lucid dreamers who we recruited by newspaper. And secondly, we changed the procedure to that associated with the research of Stephen LaBerge. We asked the subjects to signal when they were aware of dreaming with eye movements and we also gave them cues (i.e., auditory cues), after a certain period of REM without such signals, that they were in REM period. So we don’t know, unfortunately, if the change in findings is associated with a subject change or an experimental procedure change. We did find, once again, that heightened alpha in REM EEC in the 30 seconds prior to awakening was significantly associated with reports of dream bizarreness.


            In addition, we got an unexpected surprise in terms of the effects of some of the signaling. Our cues often terminated the REM periods, from a physiological point of view. In other words, we often awakened the subjects physiologically. However, the fascinating thing, which we think might bear some looking into in terms of the general issues it raises, is that often the dreaming experience continued (most often with lucid or pre-lucid dreams). Psychologically these subjects were not awakened by the cue, did not recall the cue, and continued to dream. In other words, the technician went in to get the report because he as­sumed they were awake and as far as they were concerned, they were being interrupted in mid-dream, which was often lucid. I think it’s useful to keep in mind, going back to some of Green’s early observa­tions, that normatively lucid dreaming, unless it’s extraordinarily stabilized and skilled, is right on the edge of waking up. Also meditation and other altered states are often associated with organismic states showing mixed physiological and psychological features of sleeping and waking. So we suspect that lucid dreaming may develop potentially into a transi­tional organismic state, like meditation in physiological as well as psychological dreams, under certain circumstances and that this is worth keeping in mind.


            In terms of future questions we’d like to see ad­dressed in the literature, there is first the role of alpha in the EEG. Alpha predominance does make sense both in terms of ERG findings in meditation and find­ings of cognitive alertness and reflectiveness by other researchers associated with alpha in REM, inde­pendent of lucidity. The question is what is REM alpha? Is it reflectiveness, bizarreness, and or lucidity signaling?


            It seems possible that the LaBerge type signalling and cueing could change the EEG of lucid REM. We did find that cueing our subjects who were in high alpha woke those people up at a disconcerting rate. And those were the people we had wanted to talk to most. We also have a question about the relative merits and debits of using star lucid dreamers, including looking at the more normative range of lucidity in the lab. We think that non-signaling approaches to lucid dreaming have to be used at cer­tain points. Particularly when you’re looking at the content of lucid dreams and you don’t want that changed by the possibility of what signaling will do to the dream. There could well be differences between natural lucid dreams and signaling dreams in terms of what happens to the EEG. These are things that have to be looked at. What we would like to see, and we think ideally that more than one laboratory should undertake this to settle these questions, would be to combine in one study the different methods and sub­jects that have been used.


            One would need a study in which there was a group of very good recallers trained to be lucid and another group of subjects who were experienced lucid dreamers. Second, all of the subjects should be initially pursued through laboratory recordings in which no signaling or cueing was done, i.e. in which only post REM awakenings and questioning was pursued. Then with all of these subjects, one could switch over into the LaBerge type signaling methodology. This would tell us whether signaling has an effect and whether sub type of lucid dream (i.e. pre-lucid) and type of dreamer have an effect. It is only when one or more laboratories do something like this study that these kinds of questions can be settled.





Ogilvie, R., Hunt, H., Sawicki, C. & McGowan, K. (1978). Seaching for lucid dreams. Sleep Reseach, 7, 165.

Ogilvie, R., Hunt, H., Tyson, P., Lucescu, M. & Jeakins, D. (1982). Lucid dreaming and alpha activity: A preliminary report. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 55, 795-808.

Ogilvie, R. & Wilkinson, R.T. (1983). Behavioral and physiological indicators of sleep onset. Sleep Research, 12, 162.

Tyson, P., Ogilvie, R. & Hunt, H. (1984). Lucid, prelucid, and nonlucid dreams related to the amount of EEC alpha activity during REM sleep. Psychophysiology, 21, 442-451.


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Non-REM Lucid Dreaming



Joe Dane

Pain Management Center

University of Virginia Medical School


            As with Pierre and others, I’m not going to try to present a lot of the details of our study, nor defend what I think is probably the most unique and therefore most valuable aspects of the study I’ll be talking about. I’ve spoken elsewhere (Dane, 1984) about the general background of the full three years of study that we did on lucid dreamers, first with frequent lucid dreamers, and then with non-lucid dreamers. What I want to focus on today are the findings relevant to non-REM lucid dreaming in the non-lucid dreamer population that we used. So I’m going to briefly describe the study itself and focus on the non-REM results. I don’t want to put myself in the position, today, of having to defend the existence or non-existence of non-REM lucid dreams, so let’s just assume today that it’s an existing phenomenon, at least in the early stages of non-REM sleep, and see what the implications are. I’ll point out as I get to that point in the presentation where I think Stephen LaBerge has some good points, not necessarily objec­tions, but alterations, things that need to be checked further with respect to non-REM lucid dreaming.


            Basically, we used the same format Stephen had used in terms of trying to give a signal. Figure 1 is an example of the “squaretop wave” eye signal we used. This example is obviously from the waking state.


            We decided that it would make more sense to use a more complex signal since we felt that the one Stephen was originally using was too easily confused with random eye movements. I should note that the multiple up and down movements which he now uses are obviously quite easily distinguishable. In any event, Figure 2 is an example of our signal in normal REM sleep, and of how clear it can be. Note that it stands out quite well.


            The part of the study I’m going to talk about now involved 30 non-lucid females who had all been evaluated for hypnotic susceptibility using the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, Form C. They all scored 5 or better, that is, in the upper fiftieth percentile of hypnotic susceptibility. The goal was to see whether, in one night in the lab, it’s possible to elicit verifiable lucid dreams in these formerly non-lucid dreamers. We used only females because of the apparent difference in frequency of lucidity in males versus females, and we wanted to avoid contaminating variables. Incidentally, these subjects all reported spontaneous recall of one or more (normal) dreams per month at baseline.


There were essentially four treatment conditions (see Table 1). Basically, we were comparing, a) waking


Table 1

Number of Subjects

Per Experimental Condition

Condition A

Condition B



Condition C

Condition D




instructions (WI) versus b) waking instructions (P115) plus posthypnotic suggestion. And there were two kinds of waking instructions, original (OWI) and revised (RWI). Let’s look at condition A (OWI) to start out with the simplest condition. The original waking instructions were, “signal when you think you are dreaming.” There were also other things to do, but for time’s sake, that’s the basics. The revised waking instructions were, 1) “signal whenever you think you’re asleep,” then, as opposed to asleep and dreaming, 2) “signal only when you’re asleep and experiencing any kind of imagery,” and finally 3) “signal only when you’re asleep and sure you’re dreaming.” It’s important to realize that after each time they signaled they were wakened and we talked about their experience.


            What we found was that the original waking instruc­tions didn’t work, as I’ll show you in a bit. But what’s significant is that the revised waking instruc­tions worked because we broke them down into smaller, more manageable increments and gave feedback with each increment.


            Now, in the hypnosis condition, everybody had gotten the waking instructions, then they were given the hypnotic inductions and they were asked to have an encounter with a dream symbol. I’m not going to go into the details about that dream symbol now. Basically, a symbol was developed based on the hyp­notic dream about hypnosis that the subject had had during the assessment of hypnotic susceptability. In addition, the hypnotic state reinforced the waking instructions.


            So on the first line of Table 1 you’ve got the original waking instructions, Condition A (N = 8), versus the original waking instructions plus PHS, Condition B (N = 8), and on the second line, the revised waking instruction, Condition C (N = 7), versus the revised waking instruction plus PHS, or Condition D (N = 7). Keep these in mind as we’re going to come back to this grid.


            With respect to the kinds of lucid dream reports we got, there were three types. The first was unam­biguous REM or UREM lucid dreams. This is the type that primarily LaBerge and others have referred to. Incidentally, I think Hunt and his group would tend to agree with us that, at this point in the development of lucid dream research, we no longer have to prove that lucid dreaming really does occur during unambiguous REM sleep. What we now need to start looking at is what happens without the encumbrance of having to signal during the dream to “prove” that we are having a lucid dream, since the act of signaling may, in some instances, alter the quality or content of the dream in an artificial manner. So for the definition of lucidity in this study, we were willing to accept a second type of lucid dream report, called the am­biguous REM or AREM lucid dream. This is where it is reasonable to assume that the lucid dream occurred during unambiguous REM, but, consistent with the subject’s report, the attempt to signal wakened the dreamer, and the signal only occurred immediately after arousal, from REM. So later, when I talk about “REM-associated” lucid dreams, I’m talking about both UREM and AREM lucid dreams. And finally, of course, there were non-REM or NREM lucid dreams. Okay, so there were three classifications: UREM, AREM and NREM lucid dream reports.


            Now in Table 2 you can see that the number of subjects who reported one or more (and it was typically more) of these types of lucid dreams is about the same in each of the conditions, other than in the original waking instruction condition, or Condition A. In other words, what we ended up with was three effective induction techniques. The effect remains significant even if you exclude the NREMLD reports. I want to emphasize that we’re not talking about dreamlets. We’re not just talking about merely brief imagery. We’re talking about real lucid dreams.




            Okay, now Table 2 is complicated, but what we’ve got are four conditions and the kind of lucid dreams that each subject reported. There are basically four cells. For example, subject lB had one ambiguous REM lucid dream, and two non-REM lucid dreams. So within Condition A, (PHS plus the original waking instructions), there were three unambiguous REM lucid dreams in three subjects, there were four AREMLDS in three subjects, nine NREMLDs in four subjects, and so on for each group. Again, you can see that even though the original waking instructions (condition A) had some effect, there was only one subject in the original waking instruction condition that reported any lucidity, and this was all during non-REM.


            I’ll come back to this table. With respect to the physiology, we divided the NREMLDs into five basic types, based on Foulkes and Vogel’s (1965) work with non-REM dream reports. Consistent with their system (see Table 3), the kinds of non-REM lucid dream reports we had were alpha REM, or alpha with rapid eye movements; alpha REM/SEM, or alpha with a mixture of rapid and slow eye movements; alpha SEM, stage one, and stage two. The percentages in parentheses are the percentages of dream reports noted by Foulkes and Vogel in wakings from these various stages of sleep. This is simply to remind you that “real” dreaming really does occur in these stages, whether lucid or not. Real dreaming does occur during non-REM sleep.


            I want to emphasize some basic points. One has to do with the duration of lucidity. There were three classifications of length or duration of lucidity. The evidence for duration was the subjective report of duration along with numerous instances of multiple signals. We told subjects, as did Stephen, that they were to signal every minute to a minute and a half for as long as they were lucid. If they didn’t signal within at least two minutes, they were awakened. The subjects were motivated to continue signaling. So, there were three types of lucid dream endurance: brief, recurrent, and enduring. The recurrent type is where the subject became lucid, lost lucidity for a time, and subsequently became lucid again, all within the same dream. This seems to have occurred only in the REM-associated lucid dreams. In the NREMLDs, they had only brief versus enduring types.




            This next table (see Table 14) indicates the duration of NREMLDs only. What’s interesting to note in this slide is that, the sleepier, or less aroused the sub­jects became, the briefer the lucid dreams became. In sleep onset, you tend to get more enduring than brief.



            Toward Stage 2, you get four times as many brief as enduring. Now we also found that of the five stage two examples we had, no one was able to signal before waking. This is also what Stephen found with his apparent Stage 2 lucid dreams in his dissertation report. So we wonder whether this means that Stage 2 sleep represents some kind of narrow threshold state which is inconsistent maybe with both lucidity and signaling, but at least with sustained lucidity and signaling. I’m not sure which.


            Here are a few examples. Figure 3 is from Stage 2. You can see the K-complex to the left, and the lucid dream signal. You can also see the beginning of arousal, before the signal, but it’s nice Stage 2 up to that point. It would have been tempting to inter­pret this polygraph record as if the subject were still asleep, but it’s this kind of thing (i.e., some form of arousal) that we got each time in Stage 2. Let me show you a further example in Figure 4. Here is a stage one lucid dream. A real distinct EEG with real slow, pendular eye movement, and a good clear signal. The final figure (see Figure 5) is an alpha slow eye movement lucid dream.



When scoring NREMLDs, it’s very difficult to determine exactly when and whether a person is “awake” or “asleep,” especially during these alpha types. How does one talk about ‘arousal’ when alpha is already defined as arousal in more traditional terms? Clearly, as Foulkes and Vogel demonstrated, there is strong individual variability in the exact physiological condition during which one person is aroused and another is still “asleep” and possibly dreaming during sleep onset or the stages of light sleep. Our way of looking at it is that the dream occurs within the context of an ongoing background of physiological phenomena, and if no significant change in this back­ground is noted, and the subject reports that the dream continued, then it is reasonable to say that the subject was “asleep and dreaming,” as in the instances reported here where they were dreaming lucidly.




            I’d like to make a couple of other points. If you look at the results in terms of hypnotic versus waking experimental conditions, it’s interesting to note that virtually all of the REM-associated lucid dreams which occurred in the “waking instructions only” conditions, or Conditions A and C, occurred in the third REM period or earlier. None occurred after the third REM period, even though the subjects in the waking condi­tions had greater access to more than three REM periods per subject than did the subjects in the hypnosis-associated conditions (Conditions B and D).


            Finally, let’s say for argument’s sake that since the original waking instructions didn’t work, PHS plus the original waking instructions (Condition B) really represents the effects of pure posthypnotic sugges­tion, more or less (see Table 2). Then the conditions B and C, where you’ve got pure hypnosis and pure waking instructions, you get about the same propor­tions of NREM versus REM-associated lucid dreams; 9 versus 7, 6 versus 6. But if you combine successful waking instructions with hypnosis, you get twice as many NREM lucid dreams as you get REM-associated lucid dreams. This may be because the suggestions in the hypnosis condition reinforce the waking instructions, which themselves focus the subject on sleep onset phenomena, so you’re really boosting that focus at sleep onset.




Dane, J. (1984). A comparison of waking instructions and post hypnotic suggestion for lucid dream induction. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Georgia State University.

Foulkes, D., & Vogel, G. (1965). Mental activity at sleep onset. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 7, 231-243.


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Kinesthetic Imagery as a Quality of Lucid Awareness: Descriptive and Experimental Case Studies


Tore Neilsen

Department of Psychology

University of Alberta


Note: This is a revision of the paper presented at the lucidity symposium. It contains numerous conceptual clarifications and a discussion of some results collected subsequent to the symposium.



            Throughout this symposium there has been substantial agreement that lucid dreaming can be defined as ‘an awareness of dreaming while dreaming’. This defini­tion may be adequate in a general sense, but to facilitate research into specific questions about lucid dream formation, a more specific statement is required.


            Some investigators have used more specific descrip­tions of lucid ‘awareness’, usually with reference to some quality of the dreamer’s feelings or sensations during the dream. For example, Hunt (this panel) refers to a special sense of ‘freedom or excitement’ or an ‘attitude of detachment’. Others have em­phasized the sense of control accompanying lucidity. In a similar way, I am attempting to specify how ‘awareness of dreaming’ may be conceptualized, in part, as a feeling process of kinesthetic origin. More specifically, awareness during dreaming - like awareness during many waking states - frequently refers to a particular class of sensations, namely, the kinesthetic sensations of’ bodily orientation and movement. Qualitative changes in the nature of kines­thetic sensations will, in this view, be accompanied by qualitative changes in the nature of dream ‘awareness’ referring to these sensations. By using examples of kinesthetic imagery provided by participants  in  this  mornings’  panel  discussion  on experiential significance of lucid dreaming, as well as findings from my own studies of REM dream formation, I will try to illustrate how kinesthetic imagery is a central feature of the lucid dream experience which may, at times, constitute lucid ‘awareness’ itself.


Definition of Kinesthetic Imagery


            Kinesthetic imagery, whether embedded in waking or dreaming imagery sequences, is a derivative of kines­thetic sensation. Kinesthetic sensation, in turn, is a property of an interactive network of afferent pathways providing moment-to-moment information about bodily orientation and movement. Afferent pathways subserving kinesthetic sensation include, for example, facial feedback systems signaling emotional expres­sion (e.g., Tomkins, 1982), muscular proprioceptors signaling features of body and limb movement (e.g., McCloskey, 1978), and vestibular and cervical reflex arcs signaling balance, posture, and eye and head movements. These kinesthetic sensations apparently comprise the affective, bodily substrate of ordinary waking self-awareness (e.g., Shapiro, 1985) and of moments of heightened self-awareness or affective insight (Kuiken, Carey & Nielsen, 1986). I propose further that imaginal derivatives of kinesthetic sensation comprise the affective substrate of self-involvement and awareness during dreaming, i.e., that normal and lucid dreaming are sensory events anchored in bodily felt imagery.


            Kinesthetic imagery, then is characterized by the reproduction of waking bodily experience. In its most mundane form, kinesthetic imagery is nothing more than this, i.e., a veridical reproduction of some invariant waking kinesthetic sensation of the body at rest or in motion. Such mundane kinesthetic imagery includes the imagined sensations that form the typically unnoticed ‘backdrop’ of normal dreaming, e.g., sensations of embodiment, posture, orientation, balance, gravity, inertia, object contact, rhythm, acceleration, body and limb movement, facial movement, tendency to move­ment, gesture, and emotional expression.


            However, kinesthetic imagery can frequently ‘assume an extraordinary aspect; it can become a creative exten­sion of normal, waking kinesthetic sensation. Extraordinary kinesthetic imagery includes the bizarre imagined sensations that so frequently appear in the ‘foreground’ of lucid and other exceptional types of dreams, e.g., sensations of disembodiment, disorienta­tion, imbalance, inversion, loss of gravity or object contact, paralysis, ineffectuality, suffocation, vibration, rotation, revolution, bodily distortion, bodily metamorphosis, exaggerated gesture, and atypi­cal emotional expression. The frequent association of such extraordinary imagery with lucid dreaming is not accidental. I am suggesting that such creative exten­sions of normal kinesthetic sensation may enable the occurrence of some equally extraordinary states of self ‘awareness’ during dreaming.


Examples of Kinesthetic Imagery in Lucid Dreaming


            Some excellent examples of extraordinary kinesthetic imagery occurring during dream lucidity were provided by participants in the experiential panel. Beverly, for example, indicated that a criterion test of ‘awareness of dreaming’ is whether she is able to feel herself floating or flying. Others noted that illusory sensations of flying and of the body seeming to pass through solid objects are common lucid themes. Kenneth often determines he is conscious in his dreams when he can feel his bodily states; the most excep­tional example is of a whirling vortex sensation which evolves into a felt vibration. Stephen indicated that sensations of spinning and falling backwards are crucial in maintaining his awareness. Andrew referred to a feeling of rotating 180 degrees in his bed, sitting, and engaging in an inner struggle. Patrick described lucidity that follows a ‘stereo out-of-body’ experience in which he repeatedly feels himself pulled backwards, spun around, and so on. Debra added that awareness frequently includes tangible sensations of object contact in the dream.


            Such examples are frequent in the lucid dreams literature. For instance, empirical analyses have shown that lucid dreams contain significantly wore kinesthesia themes (Gackenbach & Schillig, 1983) and balance themes (Gackenbach, in press) than non-lucid dreams. Similarly, a close examination of lucid dream collections (e.g., Moers-messmer, 1929; Gregory, 1984) confirms that the first moment of ‘awareness’ in many lucid dreams is preceded by or concurrent with some form of extraordinary kinesthetic imagery. Even when kinesthetic imagery is not reported to be present in such dreams, this may be due to difficulties in recognizing, recalling and describing kinesthetic attributes of the imagery. As mentioned above, kinesthetic imagery is frequently subtle or taken for granted (e.g., posture, orientation, balance) and, in comparison with visual imagery is not easily remembered (Posner, 1967). There may, in fact, exist cultural constraints which hinder the recall or con­ceptualization of kinesthetic images (Lerner, 1967; Schactel, 1959). Thus, unless controlled introspec­tive reporting of the kinesthetic features of lucid dreaming occurs immediately after awakening, these features may be overlooked, forgotten, masked or distorted in the dream report.


Implications for Research


            If kinesthetic imagery, is indeed, a central feature of lucid dreaming, one implication for experimental research is that the domain of lucid experiences may be broader than the ‘awareness of dreaming’ criterion allows. For example, the Old Hag or intruder dream, which occurs in up to 25% of the population in some regions (Hufford, 1982), consists of both intense kinesthetic imagery (e.g., paralysis, pressure on the chest, felt presences near the bed) and a type of false awakening typically associated with lucid dream­ing (e.g., a sense of being awake and present in the bedroom). Out-of-body dreams are another example of this juxtaposition of extraordinary kinesthetic im­agery with self-awareness. Thus, including Old Hag, out-of-body, and other related phenomena in the category of lucid dreams considerably broadens the size and general psychological importance of this category.


            A second implication of this more specific definition of lucidity is that kinesthetic imagery parameters may be used to define dimensions of awareness in mundane dream reports. It is my personal impression that many everyday dreams - and especially those accompanied by salient kinesthetic sensations (e.g., dreams of ex­pressive dancing, intense emotion, physical exertion, or chase by a villain) - also contain qualities of indefinable ‘awareness’. A detailed phenomenology of kinesthetic imagery could provide a means of identify­ing and defining such qualities.


            A third implication of the kinesthetic imagery hypothesis presented here is that training in the ‘skill’ of lucid dreaming may involve alterations in the person’s awareness and utilization of kinesthetic sensation. If there is, indeed, a therapeutic benefit in learning how to dream lucidly it may be due, in part, to a concomitant development of functions dependant upon kinesthetic sensation, such as a heightened ability to attend to ‘inner’ sensations, a heightened ability to generate and creatively apply kinesthetic images, improved balance and motor coor­dination, integration of body image, etcetera.


Experimental Inductions of Kinesthetic Imagery


            Experimental inductions of extraordinary kinesthetic imagery during REM sleep contribute to an understand­ing of the processes of lucid dream formation. As I have described elsewhere (Nielsen, Kuiken & Rindlisbacher, 1985), when muscular kinesthesia in the lower limbs is increased during REM sleep, sub­sequently recalled dream reports contain significantly more kinesthetic imagery, especially kinesthetic imagery of the stimulated limb. Frequently, this imagery depicts hyperactive, repetitive or precise movement (e.g., acrobatic skiing, repetitive limping, manipulating objects with the feet). The experimen­tally altered imagery is replete with scenes in which the dreamer’s balance is threatened (e.g., standing backwards on a high ladder, walking near a precipitous drop), disrupted (e.g., falling to the ground, teeter­ing on the dance floor), or augmented (e.g., pirouetting on a staircase, leaping from a shaky boat). Body imagery transformations are also frequent (e.g., obese/anorexic characters, face and limb distortions), as are various atypical or unusual body postures (e.g., chronic supine position, bodily lean­ing, bodily inversion). Abbreviated examples of some of these themes are presented in Table 1.



            None of our first four participants undergoing kines­thetic stimulation were asked to attempt to dream lucidly, and none of them spontaneously reported doing so, as defined by the more conservative ‘awareness of dreaming’ criterion. However, using a more liberal definition of lucidity which includes the occurrence of kinesthetic imagery, three of our four participants were lucid to some degree. Specifically, these three participants reported variations of the Old Hag dream: one participant reported paralysis, orientation to the laboratory, extreme panic, and some dream control; another reported paralysis, orientation to the laboratory, fear, felt presence of an intruder in the bed, and breathing on the neck and back; another reported orientation to the laboratory, presence of an intruder in the bed, and intense sexual arousal. Moreover, all four participants in this experiment spontaneously reported that their experimentally altered dreams were qualitatively different, novel and bizarre when compared with their everyday dreams.




            In an experiment with two experienced and one inex­perienced lucid dreamers (conducted subsequent to this symposium), pre-sleep suggestions were given to both signal with eye movements and become ‘aware’ in the dream when the kinesthetic stimulus was applied. These suggestions led to signaling and reported ‘awareness of dreaming’ as well as vivid kinesthetic imagery in all three participants. This effect ap­peared after one night of exposure with the two experienced lucid dreamers, and after three nights of exposure with the inexperienced lucid dreamer. The lucid dreams varied in content from a mundane ‘awareness’ of orientation in the dream scene following a vigorous kinesthetic imagery sequence in two cases, to a more extraordinary ‘awareness’ of flying acrobatically and in an inverted position in one case. These findings strongly suggest that dreams accom­panied by ‘awareness of dreaming’ and dreams accompanied by extraordinary kinesthetic imagery are produced by similar mechanisms of kinesthetic excitation. They may differ only in the terminology chosen by the dreamer to verbally conceptualize his or her experience to an expectant experimenter.


Neurocognitive Processes in Lucid Dreaming


            The results of this preliminary experiment implicate at least two groups of neural processes in the produc­tion of lucid dreaming:


(1) AFFERENT SENSORY PATHWAYS. Presumably, kinesthetic sensation normally affects some architectural processes of kinesthetic image formation during dream­ing despite the fact that there occurs both phasic and tonic inhibition of kinesthetic sensation during sleep (atonia). There is widespread reference to REM ‘paralysis’, but neurological studies have shown the afferent neural processes are only partially muted, not completely eliminated, during REM (e.g., Gucer, 1978). The demonstration of partial H-ref1ex damping during REM sleep given earlier in this symposium is a good example of this point. Disturbances in this diffuse system of afferent muting is likely respon­sible for the vivid kinesthetic images of bodily immobility and ineffectuality in nightmares and in the dreams of narcoleptics (cf. Liddon, 1967).


(2)     CENTRAL VESTIBULAR NUCLEI. The high frequency of occurrence of balance themes in our experimental dreams implicates vestibular processes in the formation of kinesthetic lucid dream imagery. It is likely that the unilateral peripheral stimulus we administered during REM sleep disrupted a normally balanced input to the central vestibular nuclei, thereby creating illusory imbalance and instability in the dream structure. This explanation assumes that the central vestibular nuclei, perhaps by affiliation with the peripheral vestibular labyrinths, normally serve some orientational, stabilizing role in dream imagery formation. This is an assumption consistent with evidence that the lateral and descending vestibular nuclei are crucial mediators of phasic dreaming sleep (Pompeiano, 197k).


Neurocognitive Processes In Waking Kinesthetic Sensation


            The definition of kinesthetic imagery under discussion further suggests that there is a continuity between, on the one hand, pathways associated with kinesthetic imagery formation and ‘awareness’ during dreaming and, on the other, the pathways associated with kinesthetic sensation and ‘awareness’ during waking. First, many of the extraordinary dream themes induced in our study are similar to the kinesthetic illusions which can be induced during wakefulness by experimentally altering the kinesthetic inflow from particular muscle groups. For example, illusions of falling forward or swan diving can be induced with bilateral vibration of

Achilles tendon; illusions of spinning can be induced with unilateral vibration of gluteus muscles, and so on (Lackner & Levine, 1979).


            Second, there is some evidence that patients with lesions of the vestibular system experience frequent illusory body movement, such as hyperactivity, rota­tion, or vertigo, both while awake and while dreaming (Eisinger & Shilder, 1929). Perhaps not surprisingly, these patients report dreams containing many of the same themes found in our sample of experimentally-induced kinesthetic dreams. That is, both patients and experimental participants exhibited a variety of dreamed ‘symptoms’ attributable to disruption of the afferent sensory pathways and central vestibular nuclei (see Table 2). Some of the themes from our collection are rather striking parallels of vestibular dysfunction. For example, the nausea and vomiting dreamed by one experimental participant during kines­thetic stimulation resemble the symptoms of motion sickness. Similarly, the snow, fog and sensations of cold in other dreams may be varieties of the ‘cold sweat’ sensations associated with labyrinth stimulation. The similarities in kinesthetic content between the dreams of these two groups and the dreams of lucid dreamers should also be apparent. In Table 2, for example, it can be seen that the themes of falling, turning or spinning, and being pulled back­wards were all explicitly mentioned by the lucid dreamers as central to their sense of ‘awareness’.


            Finally, the waking-dreaming continuity hypothesis is consistent with recent experiments demonstrating an association between waking vestibular skills and dream lucidity. Frequency of lucid dreaming is greater among individuals who perform well on a waking balance platform task (Gackenbach et al, 1982) and who show less post-rotational disorientation (Hunt, this panel).




            Together, the descriptive and experimental data reviewed underscore the role of kinesthetic imagery in dream ‘awareness’. They suggest that extraordinary kinesthetic imagery is frequently the focus of many lucid dreams and that careful phenomenological assess­ments may reveal previously overlooked kinesthetic correlates of lucid dreaming. The data further demonstrate that kinesthetic stimulation administered during dreaming fairly dramatically alters the form of dreams, inducing them to manifest one or more of the various typical themes associated with lucid dreaming. These themes, in turn, are evidence for the existence of certain neural systems which may be involved in the generation and maintenance of lucid dreaming. These systems may be the same afferent sensory pathways and central vestibular nuclei necessary for the generation and maintenance of oriented, stable, and structured kinesthetic self awareness during wakefulness.




Eisinger, K. & Schilder, P. (1929). Dreams and labrynth lesions. Psychiatria et Neurologia, 73, 39—329.

Gackenbach, J.I. (in press). The psychological content of lucid versus nonlucid dreams. In J.I. Gackenbach & S.P. LaBerge (Eds.), Lucid dreaming: New research on consciousness during sleep. New York: Plenum.

Gackenbach, J & Schillig, B. (1983) Lucid dreams: The content of conscious awareness of dreaming during the dream. Journal of Mental Imagery, 7(2), 1-14.

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.

Gregory, J. (1984). Becoming a lucid dreamer; An analysis of my development in the art and science of lucid dream. Unpublished bachelor’s thesis, Dominican College.

Gucer, G. (1979). Effects of sleep upon the transmission of afferent activity in the somatic afferent system. Experimental Brain Research, 34, 287-298.

Hufford, D. J. (1982). The terror that comes in the night. An experience-centered study of supernatural assault traditions. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Kuiken, D., Carey, R. , & Nielsen, T. A. (1986). Moments of affect insight. I. Their phenomenology. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Lackner, J. & Levine, M. (1979). Changes in apparent body orientation and sensory localization induced by vibration of postural muscles: Vibratory myesthetic illusions. Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, 50, 346-354.

Lerner, B. (1967). Dream function reconsidered. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 72, 85-100.

Liddon, S. L. (1967). Sleep paralysis and hypnogogic hallucinations. Their relationship to the nightmare. Archives of General Psychiatry, 17, 88-96.

Moers-messmer, H. (1930). Dreams of flying and excursions of the ego. Archiv fur die Gesamte Psycholoigie, 541-554.

McCloskey, D. I. (1978). Kinesthetic sensibility. Physiological Reviews, 58, 763-820.

Nielsen, T. A., Kuiken, D. L., & Rindlisbacher, P. (1985, June) Kinesthetic activity and movement imagery in dreams. Paper presented to the 2nd Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Dreams, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Pompeiano, 0. (1974). Vestibular influences during sleep. In H. H. Kornhuber (Ed.), Handbook of sensory physiology. Vestibular system, Part 1: Basic mechanisms. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Posner, M. I. (1967). Characteristics of visual and kinesthetic memory codes. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 75, 103-107.

Schactel, E. G. (1959). Metamorphosis. New York: Basic Books.

Shapiro, K. J. (1985). Bodily reflective modes. A phenomenological method for psychology. Durham: Duke University Press.


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Personality Characteristics Associated With the Dream

Lucidity Ability: Fact or Fiction.



.Jayne Gackenbach

Department of Psychology

University of Northern Iowa


            Two areas of particular interest to me about lucid dreaming are: (1) individual differences; is there a certain type of person who is likely to have these experiences and (2) systematic analysis of the content of the experience. I’ll be talking about the content analysis later. Right now, I’m going to talk about the type of person who is likely to have this dream. A complete review of our program of research on in­dividual differences will soon be available (Snyder & Gackenbach, in press).


            This research began with my dissertation in the mid-1970’s. Today I decided to focus on the personality correlates to the dream lucidity ability, and thus the title. I feel frustration working with personality variables. Those of you who are Clinical, Social or Personality Psychologists, (I am a Social Psychologist by training) may appreciate my frustration. As in the personality literature in general, the amount of variance that personality accounts for in predicting the lucidity ability is minimal. In the literature about 30% of the behavioral variance is accounted for by personality. I’d say that’s probably comparable when predicting the lucidity ability using personality. Imaginational, perceptual and spatial variables have been much more effective predictors (see Snyder & Gackenbach, in press). None-the-less, there are a few variables which are worth talking about.


            I’m going to first consider some methodological issues for those of you who aren’t familiar with these (see Table 1).





In my work, I conceptualize the lucidity ability in terms of its act frequency. That is, I simply ask people how frequently they have this experience. There is precedence in the personality literature for this sort of conceptualization. However, certain controls are vital to any work with lucid dreaming, especially with self-report information. The first control, is the verification of the subjects under­standing of dream lucidity. In one study with 707 Introductory Psychology students we lost 341 people because they could not, or would not, give us a lucid dream transcript that we could be reasonably confident demonstrated their understanding. Our criteria was the inclusion of a recognition phrase (i.e., ‘Then I knew I was dreaming.’ or ‘I was so relieved to then realize that it only was a dream,’) as part of the lucid dream transcript. In other words, we lost about half of the people in the normative sample (Introductory Psychology students in the University of Northern Iowa) because they misunderstood. Researchers must be sure that subjects understand.


            We’ve found that in study after study people who tend to have a lot of lucid dreams also had a tendency to report dreaming a lot, so you also have to control for dream recall. Finally, we controlled for variables such as social desirability and other confounds that one would expect from the personality literature.


            We worked with two basic types of subjects. I tried to stick with the Introductory Psychology students, as any good psychologist knows that all human behavior is based on knowledge about white rats and college sophomores! So I stayed with the college sophomore! However, every now and again I have been enticed into working with adult subjects. Unfortunately, the adults that I have worked with are typically highly interested in dreaming. Consequently, they represent a select and biased sample. Additionally, we’ve found that they tend to be from a higher economic strata, better educated, and more intelligent as well as very interested in dreaming. For these reasons, the sophomores at UNI are my normative referent.


            Regarding procedural considerations, most of my work is ‘paper and pencil’. Although I have used some ‘experimental’ procedures. Most of the studies in this area are my work with my students at UNI. Other studies referenced in this talk include the work of Sally Kueny, Keith Hearne, Susan Blackmore, Henry Reed, and Harry Hunt. But the work has been predominantly my own. In a review of 25 studies in the area of individual differences and dream lucidity, the majority of which were mine, 77% used self-report frequency as the estimate of lucidity. In texts of verification of understanding the concept, 62% con­trolled for it. Only 45% have controlled for dream recall, which I consider a major methodological flaw. Concerning type of subjects, 72% are students. (I do try to stay with that sample!) In terms of the proce­dure, 65% are based on self-report scales. Finally, the statistical analyses were either analysis of variance formats or correlational procedures. (In more recent research I have been moving toward a multi- variant model.)


            The first variable I’d like to discuss is risk-taking (see Table 2). This came from the work of Joe Dane, who had the idea that people who were spontaneously having lucid dreams were probably people who were willing to take a risk of some sort. So he and Bob Van de Castle, his major professor, developed the Dane-Van de Castle Risk-Taking Scale. They had a few items characterizing internal risks, such as, ‘Do you like to take drugs?’ or ‘Would you be willing to participate in an hypnosis experiment?’ and some querying external risks, such as, ‘Do you like to climb mountains?’ or ‘Would you jump out of airplanes?’. In his study, as well as my own, we found that risks, both external and internal, seemed to be characteristic of the frequently lucid female (see Table 2).


            Then in 1983, I further investigated the notion of risk by looking at some of the classic measures of risk. The Choice Dilemma Questionnaire, developed by Stoner, is the major instrument used in the measure­ment of the risky shift phenomena. That is, the finding that groups make riskier decisions than individuals. We also administered Zuckerman’s Sensation Seeking Scale. Sensation seekers are defined as people who need varied, novel, and complex sensations and experiences to maintain an optimal level of arousal. We administered all three scales in1983 to UNI students. We found nothing with the Dane-Van de Castle scale. For the choice dilemma, we noted a positive relationship meaning risky choices were associated with the dream lucidity ability. However, a negative relationship with sensation seeking surprised us, as it was the opposite of what we’d been finding with the Dane-Van de Castle Scale. Consequently, we did some interscale correlations.






            Scores on the Choice Dilemma Questionnaire were unre­lated to scores on the Dane-Van de Castle Scale, but the Sensation Seeking Scale was positively correlated to it (see Table 2). If you look at the item content, the Dane-Van de Castle Scale is really a shorter version of the Sensation Seeking Scale. Consequently, we administered these two scales on two more occa­sions, the following spring and summer of 1984. The negative relationship, with the lucidity ability, particularly with the Sensation Seeking Scale, emerged again. In the 1983 and 1984 studies the risk-lucidity associations were only happening with males, whereas in 1980 and 1982, I wasn’t getting much at all with males. This is how I interpret these findings. If you read the items in the Sensation Seeking Scale, 90% of them characterize externally risky situations. Furthermore, it is a much longer scale than the eight item Dane-Van de Castle. It seems that male lucid dreamers do not like externally risky situations. In other words, they are not sensation seekers. Among females, there was more preference for risk, espe­cially internal. You’ll see that this sex difference reverberates throughout our work.


            Self perception is the next variable I will consider. Specifically, we have examined self concept, self monitoring, self control and self consciousness (see Table 3). Looking at some of my own work as well as the work of others, these variations on self percep­tion pretty much washed out as predictors of the dream lucidity ability. Most of this work has been on self-consciousness, an idea initially proposed Steve LaBerge who first administered that scale at Stanford and found that private self consciousness, habitual attendance to one’s thoughts, motives and feelings, was characteristic of the frequently lucid dreamer. For public self consciousness, defined as a concern for one’s social appearance of the impression one makes on others, there was no relationship. Several studies followed this initial inquiry. For both the Gackenbach et al. (1983) and Kueny (1985) studies, adult subjects and appropriate controls were used, but these were also the same controls used in the initial study. The combined results are muddy. However, there is one particularly noteworthy finding. Gackenbach et al. (1983) regressed intelligence, creativity, several personality measures and self consciousness onto self report lucid dreaming frequency. We found that for males, private self consciousness was the best predictor. That seemed to support LaBerge’s original notion. However, Kueny (1985) reported negative relationships on very small samples (see Table 3).








            Anxiety, thought to be the best predictor of self concept, has also been repeatedly investigated (see Table 4). Basically, the use of the anxiety scales listed here, resulted in mixed findings. Lets focus on social anxiety from the Self Consciousness Inventory (see Table 14). These studies use good con­trols whereas the earlier ones, by and large, did not. For females, there is some indication of low anxiety, associated with lucidity. This is consistent with the earlier studies. Weighting for the use of controls there a positive relationship between anxiety and lucidity for males has been found.


            You can see a picture emerging. I believe that sex role identity is the pivotal variable. My inter­pretation of individual differences associated with dream lucidity comes from the findings with sex role identity, which is the extent to which an individual exhibits traits that are consistent with the traditional male or female social role. Gackenbach (1978, 1986) found a masculine factor from a factor analysis of the 16FF and other personality measures and she noted a positive relationship of it to lucidity. In the second study on Table 5 the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ), one of the standard measures of masculinity and femininity, subscales for males were both positively related to lucid dreaming frequency. The female data was less clear (see Table 5). In Kueny’s (1985) study when subjects were separated for sex, nothing emerged but she had very few subjects. When she collapsed across sex a positive relationship with femininity emerged. It’s important to point out that for the Gackenbach et al. (1983) females there’s no relationship between femininity and lucidity. Although these subjects were more masculine than the PAQ norms, they are not less feminine than those same norms. What we see, espe­cially for males, is that an androgenous individual is a lucid dreamer.







            In Table 6 are listed studies which examined extroversion. When weighted for controls no relation­ship has been found to extroversion. Snyder and Gackenbach (in press) argue that Kueny’s (1985) remarkable finding of the number of signal verified lucid dreams as highly significantly correlated with introversion (r = -.90) for only three men is theoretically important. Specifically we note that, “introverts have been said to maintain a higher level of arousal than extroverts due to constitutionally-determined properties of the central and autonomic nervous systems (p.145).” Furthermore, we argue that lucid dreaming involves a higher level of arousal during sleep. Therefore, her finding deserves further inquiry.






            Finally, the findings with religiousity, neurotisism, and hypnotizability will be briefly described (see Table 7). Religiosity correlations resulted in a mixed picture, depending on how you ask about it. Gackenbach (1984c) found that lucid women. seemed to exhibit both an eastern and a western philosophy of life. But in the same study there was a negative relationship such that males who frequently have lucid dreams seem not to identify themselves as highly religious.


            We also didn’t find much for correlations with neuroticism (see Table 7). With hypnotizability, Dane selected female non-lucid dreamers, who were high in hypnotizability, and was remarkably successful in inducing lucid dreams in their one night in the sleep laboratory. Kueny (1983) did a group induction and found a mixed picture (see footnote 5 of Table 7).


            To summarize: What I think - and what frankly surprises me, but seems to gel with my initial gut feeling from my dissertation in 1978 - is that the “average” male lucid dreamer (not the sophisticated 500 lucid dreams lucid dreamer) is not a sensation seeker, has some social anxiety, seems androgenous and introverted, and possibly has a lot of inner orientation. This, as versus the female lucid dreamer, who is a risk taker, self monitoring, sensitive to social cues, low in anxiety, high in masculinity and hypnotizable. What I think we’re seeing here, is an androgenous model. Lucid women stepping out of their sex roles to become more masculine and to take risks, is consistent with that model. Masculinity has been found in the sex role literature to be the key to psychological well­being and not androgyny. You can have femininity or not; it’s the presence of masculinity which is important. The lucid dreaming woman is not anxious, she’s a risk taker. I think that she’s doing well. She’s also hypnotizable and sensitive to social cues. A good, strong self-concept emerges fitting with the Transcendental Meditation (TM) concept of “witnessing” a dream (i.e., a variation on lucidity). The theory behind TM is that it is an evolved state of conscious­ness and people who practice it are psychologically

healthier than non-practitioners. To the extent to which consciousness evolution, parallels psychological well-being, the female data here fits their model. For the male, however, the TM model is problematic. For a man to engage in these activities, (i.e., at­tending to his dreams) is out of role and consequently risky. There is a lot of negative pressure from his environment about engaging in nontraditional activities. Consequently, he may suffer social anxiety. It’s a very risky path to take in life with lots of negative feedback.




Belicki, D.A., Hunt, H., & Belicki, K. (1978). An exploratory study comparing self-reported lucid and non-lucid dreamers. Sleep Research, 7, 166.

Dane, J. (1984). A comparison of waking instructions and post-hypnotic suggestion for lucid dream induction. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Georgia State University.

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

Gackenbach, J.I. (1980). (Fall mass testing). Unpublished raw data.

Gackenbach, J.I. (1983). (Fall mass testing). Unpublished raw data.

Gackenbach, J.I. (1984). (Spring mass testing). Unpublished data. (a)

Gackenbach, J.I. (1984). (Summer mass testing). Unpublished raw data. (b)

Gackenbach, J.I. (1984). (Fall mass testing). Unpublished raw data. (c)

Gackenbach, J.I. (1986). Personality differences between individuals varying in lucid dreaming frequency. Manuscript submitted for publication.

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

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

Kueny, Sallie (1985). An examination of auditory cueing in REM sleep for the induction of lucid dreaming. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Pacific Graduate School of Psychology.

LaBerge, S. & Gackenbach, J.I. (1982). (Self- perception testing). Unpublished raw data.

Palmer, J.. (1974). A community mail survey of psychic experiences. Research in Parapsycology, 3, 130-133.

Snyder, T.J. & Gackenbach, J.I. (in press). Individual differences associated with lucid dreaming. In J.I. Gackenbach & S.P. LaBerge (Eds.), Lucid dreaming: New research on con­sciousness during sleep, New York: Plenum.


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Dream Psychology: Operating in the Dark



Alan Moffitt, Sheila Purcell, Robert Hoffman

Ross Pigeau and Roger Wells


Sleep Laboratory

Carleton University


            The questions I want to address today concern the scientific significance of lucid dreaming, especially forour understanding of the function of dreaming. There is an emerging consensus that scientific dream psychology has not lived up to the potential which motivated much of the research following the discovery of REM sleep in 1953 (see Antrobus, 1978). For ex­ample, Foulkes (1976; 1982; 1983a; 1983b) has claimed that the three foundation disciplines of dream psychology, specifically psychoanalysis, psychophysiology and evolutionary biology, in fact have contributed very little to our scientific under­standing of dreaming. Similarly, Fiss (1983) has argued that we desperately need a clinically relevant theory of dreaming. One important reason for this apparent lack of fruitfulness is the exclusion of lucid dreaming from the central concerns of dream psychology. Ogilvie (1982) has aptly observed that until recently lucid dreaming has been consigned to the “wasteland of parapsychology”. This exclusion of lucid dreaming from scientific dream psychology finally has been rendered untenable by the dramatic demonstration by a number of researchers that lucid dreaming is a scientifically real phenomenon (Covello, 1984; Dane, 1984; Fenwick, Schatzman, Worsley & Adam, 1984: Hearne, 1981, 1983; LaBerge, 1980a, 1980b, 1981; LaBerge, Nagel, Dement & Zarcone, 1980; Ogilvie, Hunt, Tyson, Lucescu & Jeakins, 1982; Tholey, 1983; Tyson, Ogilvie & Hunt, 1984). ‘Scientifically real’ in this context means that researchers such as LaBerge were able to show, among other things, that prearranged signaling was possible from lucid dreaming during stage REM sleep without the intervention of an electrographic transition to the waking state. In effect, the dreamer was simultaneously awake and asleep. The significance of this finding has yet to be fully appreciated within dream psychology in par­ticular or cognitive psychology more generally.


            Before proceeding to the significance of lucid dream­ing, however, certain preliminary issues must be considered. What is meant by the phrase “lucid dreaming”? There is obviously no single definition of lucid dreaming which would cover the full range of phenomena which have been reported by skilled lucid dreamers (see the preceding references, and in addi­tion, Brown, 1936; Gackenbach, 1978; Garfield, 1984; Gillespie, 1984; Green, 1968; Van Eden, 1972; Reed, 1978). Some researchers only attribute lucidity to the dreamer when cognitive abilities in the dream state appear to be approximately equivalent to those of the waking state (Tart, 1979). We prefer a mini­malist definition, the awareness that what one is experiencing while dreaming is a dream, without the necessity that other cognitive capabilities of the dreamers are altered in any way. We prefer such a definition because in our research we use individuals who are not skilled lucid dreamers. We recognize, of course, that lucid dreaming represents a continuum of content and process from the minimalist to the elaborate and sustained. However, for most of the issues to be considered in this paper the fact of simple lucidity is as important as its more complex forms.


            Our research, which is reported on in detail elsewhere (Purcell, Mullington, Moffitt, Hoffmann & Pigeau, in press) indicates that lucidity of the minimalist type occurs spontaneously in about 1 to 2 percent of experimental awakenings in our laboratory in adult dreamers not selected for lucid dreaming ability. This figure is similar to the results of other experimental studies with ordinary dreamers (Hoffman & McCarley, 1980; McCarley & Hoffman, 1981). In our research such spontaneous occurrences of lucidity are generally brief and unstable, followed usually by a return to non-lucid dreaming or a transition to the waking state.


            As I said earlier, the significance of the occurrence of spontaneous or intentional lucid dreaming in the laboratory situation for cognitive science cannot be underestimated. The fact of lucidity leads to the conclusion that dreaming shares a fundamental property of all cognitive systems, specifically self-reference or self-reflection (Hofstadter, 1985; Humphrey, 1983; Jantsch, 1983; Maruyama, 1963; Maturana & Varela, 1982; Prigogine & Stengers, 1984). The term we use to characterize this important property in self-reflectiveness is based on the work of Ernest Rossi (1972). The scale of self-reflectiveness which we have derived from Rossi’s work is presented in Table 1. It is a nine step scale with level one repre­senting unfamiliar images without the dreamer present in the dream and level nine representing minimalist lucid dreaming. This scale is very useful for the clarification of terminology. Table 2 presents the ordinal values of the self-reflective scale and our understanding of the terminology of others working in this area. As one can see, this table is useful in clarifying otherwise problematic terms such as Rechtschaffen’s (1978) notion of single-mindedness, or the categories used by Ogilvie and colleagues of non-lucid, pre-lucid and lucid (Ogilvie, Hunt, Tyson, Lucescu & Jeakins, 1982; Tyson, Ogilvie & Hunt, 1984). Table 2 also indicates the possibility, indeed the necessity, of scaling the self-reflectiveness con­tinuum to include higher levels of lucidity.






            It is now widely recognized in psychology that lan­guage, cognition and ordinary waking experience all have this property (Flavell, 1977; Humphrey, 1983; Paillet. & Dugas, 1982; Suls & Dugas, 1982; 1983). In addition, it is recognized as a fundamental developmental emergent during human ontogeny (Fishbein, 1976; Flavell, 1977; Laughlin & D’Aquili, 1974). The recognition that dreaming also shares this property has important implications for our understanding of dream­ing and its relation to waking experience.


            For us the most important implication is that all experience is potentially self-reflexive, not just waking experience. This strongly implies the exist­ence and operation of common recursive mechanisms in the organization and production of experience in both states. Furthermore, because lucidity represents a correct judgement concerning the current contents of awareness during sleep, any interpretation which views dreaming as necessarily derivative in relation to normal waking consciousness is untenable, especially those classic interpretations of contemporary dream psychology which see dreaming as necessarily hal­lucinatory and/or regressive (Hartmann, 1973; Koukkou & Lehmann, 1983; Koukkou, Lehniann & Angst, 1980; Rechtschaffen, 1978). Consequently, the assumption that dreaming represents the result of random processes, as proposed in some neurophysiological and psychophysiological theories of dreaming can be seen to be false (McCarley, 1983; McCarley & Hobson, 1979). Instead, we conclude that dreaming, like cognition and language is an epigenetic system capable of correct self-reference. It necessarily follows that Crick’s (Crick & Mitchison, 1983) assertion at the neurophysiological level cannot be correct. Finally, the research indicates that many lucid episodes are ‘triggered’, often by noticing bizarreness in the dream. However, some episodes appear to be totally spontaneous.  They just happen. Thus, awareness in the dream is self-reproductive and self-organizing. The stream of consciousness leads to consciousness of the stream. Further levels of self-reproductive organization of awareness are of course possible, as the distinguished experimental and phenomenological research of participants in this conference have demonstrated (see the preceding references). We conclude, therefore, that dreaming in general and lucid dreaming in particular is a self-organizing, self-reflective and self-reproductive endogenous process. Both cognition and language share these features. Such features define generative dissipative systems, systems which are both open and creative (London & Thorngate, 1961; Prigogine, 1976; Prigogine & Stengers, 1984). It is a mistake, however, to assert as Foulkes (1982) does that dreaming is to be understood as equivalent to either cognition or language. They may share common mechanisms, but they are not identical. Neither cognition nor language contains an exact homologue to lucid dreaming, even with a minimalist definition: analogues yes, but not homologues.


            We may now approach the important question of function. What is the function of dreaming? Why do we dream? Why do we dream the way we do? Numerous answers have been proposed to these questions, none of which has been very convincing to scientific dream psychologists in the long run. It is clear that dreaming is a sufficiently complex activity that it can support any interpretation whatsoever with respect to function, including none at all (Moffitt, Hoffmann, Wells & Shearer, 1985; Moffitt, Hoffmann, Wells, Armitage & Shearer, 1985). Indeed, the dominant scientific interpretation of the function of dreaming since the logical positivists has been that dreaming serves no function at all (Dennett, 1981; Fodor, 1981; Malcom, 1959). Crick’s revival of a variant of this position is a restatement of this ideological claim. The question I want to consider at this time is whether lucid dreaming has anything to contribute to our understanding of the function of dreaming, especially as something more than an epiphenomenon of neurophysiological activity.


            What then is the function or functions of lucid dreaming? Why would a form of awareness during sleep evolve which is capable of giving a correct descrip­tion of its own state while in that state? We think the answer is fairly simple and follows from the characterization of dreaming as self-organizing, self- reproductive and self-referential. Waking consciousness is also a self-organizing, self- reproductive and self-referential system (Humphrey, 1983; Laughlin & D’Aquili, 1974; Laughlin, McManus, Rubinstein & Shearer, 1985; Maturana & Varela, 1982). As Hunt (1982; 1564; 1965) has noted, waking con­sciousness frames the experience of dreaming. The function of dream content, therefore, is to call attention to itself, to be noticed. Normally this noticing occurs across a major transition in the physiological organization of state, and we speak of dream recall under these circumstances. We may then question the nature of experience while awake and compare it to a dream. In the case of lucid dreaming we notice that we are dreaming without changing to the waking state. Two consequences result.


            The first consequence of lucidity pertains to the waking state. When we recall a lucid dream we notice that we noticed that we were dreaming. The result is that when awake we are obliged to question what in fact it means to be awake. The function of lucid dreaming for the waking state therefore is to render our understanding of what it means to be awake as relative rather than absolute (Chang, 1974; Gyatso, 1975). In other words, the function of lucidity is meta-epistemic (Kitchener, 1983). It requires us to revise our understanding of what it means to be asleep and to be awake (see for example Malcom, 1959). It is this consequence which is likely to result in con­siderable resistance within cognitive psychology to the assimilation of dream psychology. Scientific cognitive psychology has scrupulously avoided the question of awareness with all its problematic implications (however, see Marcel, 1983; Shepard, 1984; Yates, 1985). Lucid dreaming is exactly the sort of anomalous datum which Kuhn (1970) has suggested precipitates a paradigm shift. We look forward therefore, to the assimilation of dream psychology into cognitive psychology as proposed by Foulkes and Antrobus. When this happens the character of cogni­tive psychology and cognitive neuropsychology will be permanently altered.


            One such revision is that the meaning of the expres­sion ‘being awake’ can no longer be regarded as univocal. Cognitive psychology can no longer make the assumption that being awake has a clearly defined, univocal meaning (see Fodor, 1981). The immediate consequence of this opacity of meaning is that the problem of awareness must emerge as a central problem of any revisionist cognitive psychology or cognitive neuropsychology which purports to include dreaming within its domain (see Shepard, 1984). Foulkes (1982) has argued that dream psychology should become assimi­lated with cognitive psychology and Antrobus (1978) has suggested an assimilation with cognitive neuropsychology. If such assimilations should occur, it is fundamentally important that lucid dreaming be included in dream psychology. Otherwise, cognitive psychology and dream psychology will both be the poorer. Yates (1985) has argued that cognitive psychology would benefit from a reintroduction of the concept of awareness, yet lucid dreaming was not among the evidence he adduced in support of this proposal. Such an oversight must be corrected, and it is the people at this conference who are in a position to make sure that the functional and scientific sig­nificance of lucid dreaming is not ignored by dream psychology and cognitive psychology.


            The second consequence of lucidity is equally important, and bears directly on the nature of the altered character of a cognitive psychology which has been broadened to include lucid dreaming. Lucidity enables the further development of intentional action within the dream state. In effect, one can develop a new form of competence, a form of operativity not avail­able during the waking state. As the astute observations of many researchers at this conference have already demonstrated, this operativity is of a different order than found in the waking state. It is different, not derivative. This is the case because the affordances of perception and of action are not the same in the dream state as in the waking state. Consequently, we may reject claims such as those made by Koukkou and Lehman (1983) that we are concrete operational in the dream state. Many of the opera­tional skills of more advanced lucid dreaming are of a different form in comparison to either concrete or formal operational intelligence during the waking state. These skills represent a form of human competence which are sui generis, of their own type. They depend initially upon the simple but difficult act of noticing that one is dreaming while dreaming. This noticing, when cultivated, enables the develop­ment of operativity in the dream state. This type of competence defines an internal ecosystem with unique affordances with respect to the self-referential dynamics of subjectivity (Gibson, 1970; 1977; 1979). Cognitive psychology, especially cognitive developmen­tal psychology has ignored the development of unique forms of competence associated with lucid dreaming. The functions of such competence are analogous to the functions of cognitive, meta-cognitive and epistemic competence during the waking state, the creation of knowledge based on experience and the creation of experience based on knowledge. As Humphrey (1983) has suggested, “...we lack even the bare bones of a good story about consciousness in human beings...” (p. 46). Lucid dreaming is an essential part of that story. It must not be left out of the integration of dream psychology into cognitive psychology, experimental phenomenology or what Humphrey has called ‘natural psychology’.





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Harry Hunt

Department of Psychology

Brock University


            I’d like to start by expressing my regret that Celia Green isn’t here. Both because I think her work has offered us the most sophisticated phenomenology we have and also because I prepared a lot of these comments assuming she would be here.


            I’ll start with some interesting features in both Jayne Gackenbach’s and Celia Green’s descriptions of lucid dreams which I believe become understandable if we relate lucid dreaming to what we know of meditation. Specifically, I’d like to start with what Green in her 1968 book calls the psychological and perceptual realism of lucid dreams, possibly in turn related to what Jayne today has talked about as a sort of thematic flatness. Such observations are impor­tant, but have been hard to fit with other findings. Certainly, the cognitive clarity of lucid dreams does seem to be the opposite of the tendency in normative dreaming toward clouding and confusion, what Rechtscaffen calls their single-mindedness. And since cognitive reflection within the dream can in­itiate lucidity, this has given rise, for many of us to the view that lucid dreaming might be an approxima­tion to our full waking faculties within the dream, with their supposed clarity. Similarly, Green has rightly pointed to the perceptual realism and clarity of lucid dreams, their tendency at times to meticulously imitate physical reality, and to the relative absence of extreme forms of bizarre transfor­mation, which was also reflected in some of Jayne’s comments today. So again we could get the picture of a single continuum running through dreams, from bizarre dreams through more realistic true to daily life dreams and into lucidity and control. And if dream bizarreness is to be taken as direct evidence of creative symbolism operating in dream formation, which follows from both Fraud and Jung, then we seem to again to have a single continuum between symbolic dreams and lucid dreams on which all dreams could be placed.


            Now, lucid and symbolic uses of dreaming are clearly very different. This business of contrasting lucid and non-lucid dreaming along a single line of mental clouding versus awakening, or dream symbolism versus realism, is doubtful. First, George Gillespie and Green have pointed to the curious resistance to reasoning correctly about the full implications of being in the dream, and to similar difficulties in the specific recall of one’s actual waking circumstances in even very experienced lucid dreamers. In our studies at Brock, we found that fully lucid dreams could be associated with increased cognitive confu­sions and memory anomalies, suggesting that whatever single-mindedness or clouding of consciousness may be inherent to dreaming, it is not necessarily overcome by lucidity. They go in orthogonal directions to some extent. If the lucid dream was simply a mental waking up in the dream, then specific confusions and clouding should disappear. But no, at most they may change in type.


            With respect to bizarreness or symbolization, our research at Brook seems to have located a curvilinear relation between bizarreness and lucidity. We found that pre-lucid dreams were significantly more bizarre in perceptual alterations and fantastic elements than lucid and non-lucid dreams for the same subjects. But when we looked at the lucid control dreams of long term meditators, we found forms of dream bizarreness that we rarely saw in our normative samples, thereby confirming anecdotal impressions that developed lucidity could be transformed in visionary spiritual directions.


            It’s my impression that part of what Green describes as the perceptual realism of lucidity, with it’s attentiveness to the immediate texture of the senses, is in fact normatively unusual and the same as what Gackenbach, in some of her earlier studies, has called vividness. Subjects report more color, more visual detail, auditory perception and kinesthetic sensations. It is most definitely not the same as what others, like Dorus and Rechtscaffen or Snyder have called the surprisingly true to daily life quality of most dreams. What they meant was not vividness but a mundaneness of experience, and in­terestingly, a close approximation to the verbal and reflective capacities of waking consciousness, but with no hint of the features that lead to lucidity. So if anything, mundane, true to daily life dreams are further from lucid and control dreams than the bizarre and confused transformations traditionally associated with dream symbolism.


            Some clarification, I think, comes when we notice that the lucid dreamer is living in his or her dream in the same way that the long term meditator seeks within wakefulness. Both meditation and lucidity show the same development of a detached, receptive, self- reflective attitude in the midst of on-going activities, and the same feelings of exhilaration, clarity and sense of significance. So what Green has described as a realism is a special feeling of im­mediacy and felt reality, as different from ordinary wakefulness as from ordinary dreaming. So I strongly agree with Alan Moffitt and his colleagues that lucid dreams are based on a capacity for self-reflectiveness, unfolding, perhaps for it’s own sake, and independent of our ordinary, functional embeddedness, awake and asleep.


            I’d add the suggestion that the reflexivity involved in lucid dreams is something that transforms and changes consciousness in a way reminiscent of long- term meditation. I talked this morning about the fact that this equation of lucidity with meditation is supported by our findings in the study with Barbara McCloud, that long-term meditators showed elevated control and lucid dreams, and indeed their degree of lucidity went directly with years of meditative prac­tice, and with rare transformations of dream experience, like geometric mandala patterns of the sort described by Jung, and white light experiences that also occur with long-term meditation. In fact, in that study, two major aspects of lucid dreaming, the self-reflectiveness involved in degrees of lucidity and measures of vividness in sensory detail were associated with different aspects of meditative practice in our subjects. Degree of lucidity went with years of meditation, while sensory detail and a measure of Gackenbach’s kinesthetic sensations, self- rated by the subject, went with the amount of time spent meditating each day.


            What we know about the effects of meditation and their cognitive basis in intensified reflexivity, helps to clarify some other points in Gackenbach’s and Green’s descriptions of the content of lucid dreams. Although she didn’t emphasize it today, there is Gackenbach’s fascinating finding showing enhanced awareness of kinesthetic sensations in lucid dreams and a tendency for lucid dreamers to show good physical balance in test situations that involve vestibular disruption. And Tore Neilsen has shown the relations between kinesthetic stimulation and forms of dream bizarreness quite possibly related to pre-lucidity. Now these findings along with the very existence of falling and flying dreams could, of course, be understood in terms of a general vestibular instability specific to REM physiology. If so, persons who have good balance in conditions that cause dizziness, could better overcome the natural delirium of REMing and become lucid. Other investigators, however, like Green, have related falling and flying dreams to the dimension of lucidity, which suggests that such dreams are based on the double awareness of a dreamt and an actual body position. This is the same double awareness basic to the lucid dreams, out-of-body experience, and meditation. Along these lines Paul Swartz at Alberta has reported a significant correlation between the Hood scale of spontaneously occurring mystical ex­perience and a -test of physical balance and coordination, specifically, pin the tail on the donkey. In a study with Roc Villenuve we not only replicated that, which was fun, but we also found associations among lucid-control dreams, experimental meditation, and physical balance. In other words, Jayne’s balance factor is not specific to dreaming or lucid dreaming, but is more generally related to the waking experiences that are most like lucidity.


            Another reason that we may be struck by a “realism”, of lucid dreams is their close relation to what Green in her recent writings calls metachoric experience, which I take here in the narrow sense of hallucinating a version of the physical setting that one is in fact in, especially as seen in false awakenings, out-of- body experience, and in her accounts of apparition experience - often showing this same heightened vivid­ness and precision of detail. I’d suggest that the metacoric reconstitution of’ one’s actual physical surroundings is not just a simple reproductive use of perceptual patterns, as may be true in the daily life settings of ordinary dreaming. Rather it shows a self-referential attunement to one’s immediate setting which overrides the state specific disorientations of sleep, and probably indicates a complete taking over of the dreaming process by an abstract imaginal capacity that would be common to lucid dreams, out-of- body experience and meditation. And an important indicator of these states, as Moffitt suggests, is their accuracy. Such metachoric reconstitution of one’s actual setting may be very common in waking meditative practice and would help account for reports of the special powers or capacities that are so reminiscent of the quasi-magical manipulations of dream control and out-of-body experience.


            Alan Moffitt’s views on the nature and function of lucid dreams were intriguing and challenging. I would certainly agree with him that1ucidity seems to be based on an underlying cognitive process of self-refectiveness of reflexivity. But when it comes to classifying the so called manifest dream in terms of degrees of lucidity, I’m unsure about an exclusive use of Rossi’s self awareness continuum. More specifi­cally, the little understood shift to lucidity seems to involve changes along several potentially separate dimensions of actual dream content or form. For instance, there seems to be a clarity sensory detail - vividness dimension, possibly with a separate kinesthetic dimension that one should add in as well. There is also a curvilinear bizarreness dimension with various distinct subtypes. There seems to be a physi­cal expansiveness or magical thrill factor. And perhaps it’s here that we should put falling, flying and kinesthetic sensations. There seems to also be an emotional expansiveness or peak experience dimension. Of course, there’s a recognition of dreaming dimen­sion, and that might also include any reference at all to the sleeping, dreaming condition or to the actual setting where one is asleep. There’s a dimension of dream control, and we know that that may or may not be associated with lucid awareness. And then finally, with Alan, there is Rossi’s original dimension of self-awareness, which might lead to levels of detached observation and double awareness that may involve lucidity or not. So I tend to think that we need six or seven scales to get at the natural variations within the continuum of lucid and controlled dreaming, in terms of what makes it lucid or what makes it interesting to us to study.


            Finally, I’ll return briefly to the question of whether we should expect all dreaming to vary on a single dimension that ends in lucidity, or anything else for that matter. This is also related to the question of whether there is any fixed function for dreaming. If it’s true, as Medard Boss said, that all the modalities of human existence are manifested in our dreams, there will be many lines of variation and potential development to trace through dreaming, not just one. I don’t know if we will find a true func­tion of dreaming, or even for types of dreaming, any more than we’ve been able to for human existence. A self-referential, self-transforming system like the human mind will evolve its uses as creatively and unpredictably as it evolves its structures. Indeed, there do seem to be distinct types of dreaming, each with its own line of articulation coming out of ordinary, true to daily life dreams. There is a lucid control line, a Freud type pressure discharge line, a Jung-type archetypical mythological line, quite pos­sibly a problem solving line, a Robert Lewis Stevenson type creative story line, and various subtypes of physiological projection dreams (illness, pregnancy, etc.), and probably others. It may be because both dreaming and human life have no fixed function that they are open to so many different uses.


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The Problems of Induction



Robert Price

Department of Psychology

University of Texas


Stephen LaBerge

Sleep Research Center

Stanford University


Christian Bouchet

Paris, France


Roger Ripert

Centre Oniros

St. Denis, France


Joe Dane

Pain Management Center

                            University of Virginia





Price: All of us here are drawn together by our fascination with the lucid dream experience. We believe that it has the potential to enhance personal development and perhaps to increase our scientific understanding of dreams and consciousness. Without intentional induction procedures, lucid dreams tend to occur spontaneously but sporadically. An individual experiencing a lucid dream for the first time, will often become intrigued by it, and attempt to increase the frequency of these experiences by trial and error. These hit and miss methods do not often achieve their goal consistently. If we are to make progress toward scientific and the personal understanding of lucid dreams, we must first develop techniques to induce the lucid dream experience reliably. This is the most important task currently facing lucid dream research.


            At present one can find throughout the literature a wide variety of (proposed induction) techniques, very few of which have been formally tested. In our at­tempt to find order among the jumble of procedures we need some way of organizing them. There are, of course, many different dimensions along which these techniques may be organized. Some of these are, for example, tie time of day practiced, induction prior to or during sleep, home or sleep lab setting, and self- or experimenter-induced. By way of introduction, I would like to present one possible classification scheme for induction methods. I will present this scheme in a very brief, bare bones fashion. For those of you interested in fleshing out this outline, it is presented more fully along with it’s theoretical underpinnings in Gackenbach and LaBerge’ s forthcoming book, Lucid Dreaming: New Research On Consciousness During Sleep. (Editors Note: This book is due out in mid—1987.)



The first category in Table 1 • “Lucid Awareness Training”, involves an attempt to promote a particular attitude or state of consciousness during wakefulness. The idea is that once this attitude becomes firmly established while awake, it will be triggered during the dream. Examples of the target waking state of mind have ranged from Tholey’s emphasis on an active critical attitude through a state of heightened recep­tive perceptual awareness that promoted by Peth and others. Although these two states seem to be at opposite ends of the active-passive continuum, Lucid Awareness Training may be the most effective when a synthesis of these two attitudes is developed. After noting the similarity of lucid dreaming to the various meditative states, often accompanied by alpha brain waves, Hunt and his associates suggested that lucid dreaming may be facilitated by training subjects prior to sleep, to increase alpha activity. This technique is known as Alpha Feedback Training”.


            Malamud and Sparrow independently utilized procedures in which subjects “redream” their previously unplea­sant non-lucid dreams during waking fantasy. As if they are lucid. Through this process the individual becomes familiar with a state of consciousness similar to the lucid dream. The Lucid Awareness Techniques may be carried out during the day or immediately prior to sleep onset.


            The second major category, Intention and Suggestion Procedures, has recently been distinguished by Tholey. Under the heading of intention procedures, we have “Action Specific” Intention. Because the intention to become lucid is a rather vague goal to carry into the dream, the individual intends instead to perform a particular action in the dream which is associated with lucidity prior to sleep. Examples of this are Castaneda’s Hand Focusing Technique and Hearne’s False Awakening with State Testing or “F.A.S.T.” technique in which experimentally induced false awake­nings are intended to promote lucidity. LaBerge’s “Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams” or “MILD” util­izes a mnemonic intention and visualization procedure after awakening from a dream in the early morning hours.


            On the suggestion side, Joe Dane, has formulated a two part strategy for utilizing Posthypnotic Suggestion and achieved some encouraging results that he will discuss. The majority of these intention and sugges­tion procedures are carried out right on the verge or just prior to falling asleep.


            The last major category, “Cue-REMinding”, attempts to stimulate lucidity by introducing an external stimulus during REM sleep. These attempts have focused primarily on auditory and tactile cues. Hearne has developed a machine that delivers a mild electric shock to the wrist of the dreamer to cue lucidity. The most common method used to induce lucidity with external stimuli has involved auditory cueing. LaBerge introduced a taped message to the dreamer, which repeated, ‘This is a dream’, so that it would directly remind the dreamer without awakening. Kueny recently completed a study utilizing four different auditory cues: one similar to LaBerge’s and another composed of a musical phrase.


            David Cohen and I used auditory biofeedback during REM sleep. Initially our goal was to influence the fre­quency of eye movement in order to observe the effect on the dream content. In a pilot study the technique was highly associated with lucidity. Most of these “Cue-REMinding” techniques involve the use of special equipment and sleep monitoring in the lab. Because of this requirement, these procedures might best be suited, as Tholey has suggested, to acquaint pre­viously non-lucid subjects with their first lucidity experience.


            Because all of these techniques may be more effective when practiced together rather than in isolation, combined techniques have utilized various combinations of these procedures. Finally, “Hypnogogic” Lucidity Techniques refer to procedures designed to retain continuous reflective awareness while falling asleep, thus inducing hypnogogic lucid dreams.


            This outline is intended only to familiarize you with the range of techniques that have been proposed, and to provide some order to them. We must first know what we have to work with so we can systematically determine which are most effective. Because of time constraints, I have said little about the results obtained with each of these techniques. Although each major class has been met with some limited suc­cess, none has yet emerged as superior.


            During this discussion, we will attempt to focus on the following three questions. First of all, ‘What common factors can we extract from the available induction techniques as the essential element(s) for lucidity induction?! Although I have presented three separate classes of techniques, there is a great deal of overlap between them. What are the common threads? Question number two: ‘How widely available is the lucid dream experience?’ ‘Is the potential to develop lucid-ability shared by most dreamers or only a minority?’ And finally, if the time allows: ‘What are the potentials and limitations of the lucid dream experience in terms of frequency, duration, and con­tent control?’ First of all, let me introduce the first question. What factors can we extract and what are your experience with the different techniques?


LaBerge: First, I’d like to make one or two comments about some of the points you’ve made. I think you’ve got a nice general outline of the various techniques. However, I would take exception to the idea that all these techniques are sort of good. I think some techniques you have listed there are just ideas and that nobody has ever shown that they work even once.


            For example, the F.A.S.T. technique. As far as I know that was an idea described as a technique but nobody has said, ‘I did it and it worked for me.’ So there’s no evidence for F.A.S.T. If anyone has done it, I would like to hear about it. I think that similar things can be said for the idea of alpha feedback. It was a good idea but results were not forthcoming that showed that it worked.


            There are some techniques that I think the evidence suggests might be good for a specific group of people. Also, there are some techniques that might be useful for people who have never had lucid dreams before that will increase their likelihood of experiencing them so that they’ll have a lucid dream now and then. But there are other techniques that are designed for enabling one to have lucid dreams at will. The tech­nique that I developed (MILD) was designed to do just that. My goal was to be able to have lucid dreams at will, not merely to increase their frequency. I wanted something that I’d be able to use in the laboratory when I wanted to have a lucid dream at a particular time. I’m convinced from my own ex­periences with trials using other approaches, being just as motivated, that the MILD is a particularly effective technique in the hands of people of a cer­tain class, yet to be determined. Maybe it’s people who have had a lot of experience with lucidity. I don’t know. I do know that if I don’t use the MILD I can’t reliably count on having a lucid dream. Consequently, at a certain level of development, it’s a technique that could be useful. On the other hand, the MILD seems to be something that is pretty dif­ficult to teach to people who have had no experience with lucid dreaming. Maybe there will be a different set of techniques that will be useful at different levels of development. That’s one thing that would be nice to be able to determine. What’s the appropriate developmental level? It is unlikely that we’ll have one technique that will do it.


Price: I agree. We may find that the lucid awareness techniques will tend to be more effective at increas­ing the general frequency of lucid dreams, whereas the intention, suggestion, and cue-REMinding will be more effective in triggering a lucid dream during a par­ticular REM period.


LaBerge: Now to answer your question, ‘What do I see as the most effective kind of method?’ I’ll briefly describe a study that was recently completed in col­laboration with Robert Rich, of Stanford, who did his Honors Thesis in Psychology on this. We determined all of the things that we thought might help people to have lucid dreams and had subjects do them. Then we tested the subjects in the laboratory. The results were quite encouraging. We used subjects who did not report frequent lucid dreams so that we had some that had never had lucid dreams. Most of these people had had a few lucid dreams. They knew what they were but they didn’t have them with any degree of regularity. Of the twenty subjects, who slept for one night only in the laboratory, something like twelve to fourteen lucid dreams were recorded. This is similar to the results that Joe has gotten.


            Now what did we do to produce these results? First we had a Waking-Training Procedure which was associated with a particular cue that would be applied during the REM state. The Waking-Training Procedure consisted of wearing a device on their ankle that was connected with a timer that caused a vibration to occur every 30 or 40 minutes throughout the day for 5 seconds each time. This was a reminder to tell the subjects to check whether or not they were dreaming at that moment. The test that we gave people to do this checking was as follows. We had digital watches on their hands which they would look at to see the time, which they then recorded. Then they would check to make sure their recorded list of numbers all made sense. It was a solid reality test which no dream would pass. In addition, because the answer’s always no, we wanted to do something else so that they wouldn’t get in the habit of thinking, ‘Well, I know it’s not a dream.’ So the next step was to ask them, ‘Alright, you know this isn’t a dream, but if it were?’ This is similar to Tholey’s technique of imagining it as if it were. We asked them to imagine, ‘The next time I’m in the laboratory, when I feel this it will have been. a dream.’


            We had a few other techniques where we asked them to ask themselves certain questions. We guided their thinking about how they were going to find out whether they were dreaming in ways other then the watch, to give them practice in the critical reflec­tive technique. We had them do this for one or two days. We have reason to believe that two days is better. They then came into the laboratory. When they were in REM sleep we would apply the same stimulus to which they had developed an association. The key innovation is the association. In the past induction studies with some sort of external cue supplied no association to the cue. For instance, we’ve had some very odd situations where the cue seems to get into the dream but the dreamer doesn’t know that it means anything. I remember one subject who wrote out his dream report. I said, ‘Well, what happened there?’ ‘Didn’t you hear it?’ In his dream report it said, ‘These people are trying to say something to me but I don’t want to listen. They say you’re dreaming’. That’s what he wrote. He didn’t even recognize that until he woke up. He was hearing it in the dream. It’s not enough to have the information appear. Dreamers have to have an association made between the cue appearing and a particular reality testing action. We found, interestingly enough, that nobody in their dream felt the vibration and then looked at their watch and discovered their true state. Either people felt the vibration and thought, ‘Oh, yup, there it is. It’s the dream,’ or else the stimulus caused the dream walls to start wobbling and other oddities and at that point people said ‘This is a dream.’ It’s a simple condition, no higher consciousness is required. The association to the vibration is ‘check reality.’


Price: Did the stimulus ever lead to a micro-arousal or increased alpha?


LaBerge: In one case we got an awake type lucid dream, where there was a momentary awakening and then the person went right back into REM. Generally it didn’t occur. The problem of using external cues is, of course, you too often wake people up. If the stimulus is large enough to be effective then you frequently wake them up.


Question: How did you apply the vibrator?


LaBerge: We had it on the ankle at first but then we were waking people up too easily. It was one of these mechanical vibrators which we couldn’t start slowly enough. There was an inertia so that once it came on it was too much stimulation. Consequently, we put it at the foot of the bed, in the mattress. That seemed to work.


            One reason that we wanted to try a tactile stimulus, was that the auditory system was more associated with monitoring the environment for danger while we sleep and so therefore, more likely to produce arousal.


Price: How did you determine exactly when to intro­duce the stimulus?


LaBerge: That’s a good question and points to one of the major deficiencies of the study. How do we decide when to turn it on? We’d turn it on after a REM burst or some other indication of physiological activation. Ideally this should be done with a computer which would be looking for certain levels of physiological activation and always apply the cue at that time. When we start doing studies like that, where we could easily reproduce the levels at which it was applied, we’ll wake a lot better progress. Lucid dreams, when they occur, I shouldn’t say spontaneously because they’re usually induced by deliberate intention, occur with a certain level of physiological activation. You can’t be guaranteed of lucidity if the cue is applied at random. That’s another important consideration; applying the cue at the right time.


Price: We found that, during REM sleep, when presented the tone, sometimes the subject would just totally ignore the tone while at other times it would awaken him. That is a very touchy issue; trying to present the stimulus at just the right level and at just the right time. Christian, would you like to describe some of the results you got with the Combined Technique?


Bouchet: We had 93 subjects and a lot of them, 88, agreed to do Tholey’s Combined Technique. However, of the 88, only 8 fulfilled the requirements of the method. In Tholey’s Combined Technique there are nine instructions about lucid awareness. In my opinion, it’s possible to divide these techniques into long term and short term. That is, if you follow the first three instructions, I mean those which modify the frame of mind during the day, you are going to have lucid dreams after a long time, but they will be durable. But if you use the short term techniques, you’ll have an immediate result but it won’t last. Consequently, the Combined Technique is useful for people who have never had lucid dreams. (But in fact, we had a better result with previously lucid dreamers.) It is useful because it is necessary for a non-lucid dreamer to have lucid dreams rapidly in order to be motivated to continue. But to con­solidate the results, it is necessary to strengthen them with the first three technique.


            I think it is necessary to make having lucid dreams second nature. For example, you do it for five weeks and after this period you are accustomed to doing it and so sometimes you ask yourself, ‘Maybe I am dream­ing right now? Maybe it’s a dream?’ Your dream life may be modified if you change your mental habits. This is especially true when you use long term techniques.


Price: Did you find out, Stephen, as you developed MILD, that your daily attitude, changed in any way?


LaBerge: I do think so because MILD is an exercise really that is closely associated with the dream state. When you wake up from the dream, the idea is how to make a connection between where you are now and the next time you’re dreaming. So, optimally, it’s done immediately after waking from the dream because the physiology of REM persists into the period of waking. Furthermore, it’s been shown that when people are awakened from REM sleep and asked to tell a story, they tell very dreamlike stories. So we want to associate it directly with the dream-state.


Price: There is another point that we had talked about earlier, the distinction between people who didn’t actually use the technique but still had lucid dreams. I think that would be an important point to make.


Bouchet: This experimentation was done by Roger Ripert and myself. The results will be presented to you by Roger. I will say a few words about the unex­pected results as they have been obtained from people who didn’t do the test but did have lucid dreams. This kind of result can’t be inserted in a statistical analysis, as there is no data to support it, but it is necessary to take it into account.


            First of all, I’ll give you a few figures to help you understand the scope of the project. (By the way, Roger Ripert had his own group and we mixed the results.) I contacted 93 persons to whom I explained a lucid dream and Paul Tholey’s method of inducing them. As I said, 88 agreed to participate. Only 53 began to work with the method. Of these 53, 35 gave up along the way, 24 didn’t answer and 6 have not finished the test because they didn’t start it in time. Only 8 have completed the experiment. Their results have been incorporated into those of Roger’s group, in order to obtain a larger sample size for statistical analyses.


            These figures are interesting because they illustrate two limits to the statistical analysis. On the one hand the statistical analyses only takes into account the results of those who concluded the experiment. The people who gave up also obtained good results and sometimes better than those who finished. On the other hand when you examine the results, you might think that people who are able to obtain lucidity belong to one of the two categories: people who have concluded the test or those who have given it up. Actually obtaining lucid dreams occurred in all categories, including those who did not undertake the experiment. It is necessary, therefore, to find the reasons behind their lack of participation. In our statistical analysis the number of successes was determined by the dreamers who finished the experiment. Unfortunately, the other successes in obtaining lucidity were not noted. They appeared in subsequent conversations with the subjects. Therefore, it is not possible to give the figures concerning those who have not practiced the technique. What are the causes for the induction of lucid dreams in subjects who have not followed the procedure?


Dane: Let me try and understand; you’re about to talk about those who either didn’t at all, or only par­tially, completed the procedure, yet nonetheless developed lucid dreams.


Bouchet: Yes. To those who have partly followed the procedure we can assume that they have taken advantage of Tholey’s techniques in some way. It is not the same for the others, so we must examine the notion of the psychological field.


            To understand the following, it is necessary to know why the test was not practiced. The majority of the subjects declared that they were short of time. But, in my view, the test needs little time: the subjects had only to note their dreams and to fill out the test paper. The instructions were short and should not have interfered with other activities. There was no obligation to record dreams except for the lucid dreams and the dreams associated with lucid dreams. We could presume that lucid dreams would not appear daily, at least in the beginning. In the same way, to fill up a paper is not difficult. The real reason was, in fact, a want of mental responsibility, which is completely different.


            This lack of mental responsibility appears in two ways. First, it is a conscious refusal to use the first three prescriptions in spite of an apparently firm decision to the contrary. The instructions stipulate that the subject should ask himself the critical question, which is “Am I dreaming or not?”, at least five to ten times a day. Some subjects can’t do it. Furthermore they say: “I try to see as in a dream what is around me, but I can’t conceive of the idea that it is a dream.” Some of them go further and say that when they try to do it they think that it is stupid. It is something like a natural rejection even if it takes the shape of verbal reasoning like: “It is clear that what is around me is not a dream.”


            For some, this type of question is not a problem. They are those who see life as a movie, as a drama or a game, something to be played. For them, the idea of considering what is around them as a dream is not a case of perturbation because it is an attitude which is already existing in them. Even if they have not begun the technique, merely somebody speaking about the lucid dream with them can provoke spontaneous lucidity. It seems that one of the characteristics of the psychological field favorable to spontaneous lucidity may be found in the ease with which one can question the reality of the world without being anxious. It is a kind of serenity in face of the diversity of life.


            Spontaneous lucidity didn’t happen before to these individuals because when they think of the world as a movie, there was no need to transfer such thoughts to the dream state. But when they were asked to think of realism in terms of a dream, the transfer seems to be automatic.


Price: They already had the habit of thinking of the world as a game or film which easily adapted to dreaming.


Dane: That observer rule, if you will, was built into their way of viewing life, and all you did was ask them to apply that one notch over.


Bouchet: The lack of mental responsibility is also the result of our mental concerns. Many of the par­ticipants told me that they were not able to follow the instructions because they were preoccupied with personal or professional concerns. These concerns did not allow them to think about the nature of reality. This last attitude is a little different from the preceding one. One who is addicted to his work to such a degree that he forgets himself is not able to think of anything but what he is doing because it is irrelevant to his work. This subject says that he expects a rest period or holiday to occur prior to the test. This kind of attitude characterizes the majority of the subjects who undertook the test. However, they have good intentions.


            However, in my view conforming to the instructions of the test is not a hindrance to one’s personal work, or to the solution of diverse preoccupations. Following the instructions is felt as a hindrance when it is not practiced because it then appears as difficult. Yet, when the subject works on it the feelings of dif­ficulty disappear. But when he stops working, he forgets the ease of the method. Moreover, the use of this method may give the strength to pursue a task. For instance, two of the subjects mentioned this and many of them found the solution to problems that they thought insurmountable.


            This allows us to understand the second reason for spontaneous lucidity arising among the subjects who had not completed the test. When someone asks himself if he is dreaming or not, he very often takes a new point of view of familiar situations. Some subjects have found advantages to this way of thinking. Afterwards they have spontaneously used this method in other circumstances. This attitude change is probably the cause of these lucid dreams for the subjects who had never had such dreams before.


            We have, therefore, different types of reactions and/or different types of individuals. First, the people for whom Tholey’s instructions are natural; second, people who discover the applicability of it for their everyday life, and so they spontaneously adopt.


            What has been said concerns observations from a great number of subjects who were individually questioned. This kind of work indicates directions for research not implicated by the statistical analysis. For example, proposing a simplified test to subjects who have the profile given above, with the hope that we would obtain better results. Another possibility is to prepare the subjects in terms of these specific points before offering them the method for inducing lucid dreams.


Dane: What would be nice to know is the exact number of each type of subject for whom you’re getting success. I think you’re saying that the people in between have more trouble. Those are the ones that didn’t seem to get the results. They just stopped doing the technique.


Price: Another thing that this finding, if it holds up, could provide is a way of screening subjects with psychological assessment devices to see who holds these types of attitudes, to predict their success with a particular technique.


Dane: I think Christian’s findings will hold up. I think he may have something, as it seems parallel to Jayne’s finding that frequent lucid dreamer’s are characterized by “risk taking” as defined on the scale which Bob Van de Castle and I developed. We had defined it more as a sense of “adventuresomeness”, which according to Hilgard, is also a characteristic of those with high hypnotic capacity. Intuitively, there seems to be some parallel between a sense of adventuresomeness in life and what Christian describes as living or seeing life as if it were a game or a play on the stage.


Bouchet: Roger analyzed some of the data on some of the successful subjects for that same study. He will comment on those findings as well as those for another group.


Ripert: Research in sleep and dream laboratories on lucid dreaming (LD) means having experienced lucid dreamers, capable of inducing lucidity in experimental situations. Consequently, the development of an efficient induction technique is crucial.


             The Combined Reflection Technique developed by Paul Tholey apparently gives good results, as ordinary dreamers were reported to obtain their first lucid dream after 4-5 weeks of practice. Thus we decided to test this method.


            This technique is based on the principle of a transfer from waking to dream, of a critical-reflective frame of mind concerning one’s state of consciousness. This frame of mind is developed during the waking state and also calls for formulating intention (as in LaBerge’s MILD technique) and internal programming of a specific action (as in Don Juan’s teachings).


            For this study, 13 subjects, aged 20 to 50, tested Paul Tholey’s Combined Reflection Technique over a period of 5-6 weeks. Each participant received:

- a list of 9 instructions;

- a daily checklist of instructions carried out;

- a self-reflection scale (developed by Sheila Purcell) allowing the subject to score his dreams according to their degree of lucidity;

- a complementary instructions as how to keep a dream diary and suggestions to help remember dreams (as per Patricia Garfield); and

- a questionnaire to be filled out at the end of the experiment. The results are given in Table 1.


            The subjects met with some difficulty comprehending the instructions and dealing with the amount of work involved. Consequently, they often only carried out part of the directives. Nevertheless, of the 13 subjects who completed the experiment, 7 out of the 8 subjects who had already experienced lucid dreams increased their LD frequency during the test. In addition, one of the 5 persons who had never had lucid dreams before did experience several during this period.


            Preliminary statistical analysis indicated that there is a correlation between:

- the frequency of LD during the experiment (F2), the number of critical questions in induced imaginary situations (Q3) and the number of times lucidity was programmed before going to sleep - this is par­ticularly significative for the ordinary dreamer who attained lucidity during the test;

- the number of critical questions (Q1,Q2) and the number of inductions in the early morning hours (P2). For four subjects who had already experienced LD, this technique was often successful.


            Although no firm conclusions can be drawn, due to the limited number of subjects, we can say that the most efficient techniques appear to be asking the critical question in ordinary waking or in induced dream-like situations and LD programming before going to sleep for ordinary dreamers or LD programming in the early morning hours for those who had already experienced lucid dreams.


            As Paul Tholey emphasizes, it is not so important to frequently ask oneself the critical question as it is to develop a permanent critical attitude towards one’s state of consciousness.


            Several of the lucid dreams obtained were published in Oniros bulletin (Editors Note: This French lan­guage publication is available from: Roger Ripert; Centre Oniros, B.P. 30, 93450 Ile St. Denis, France).



Price:  Joe would you like to comment on your results? And could you say a little bit about the second question. How universal do your results suggest the lucidity potential to be?


Dane: Remember my results are with non-lucid dreamers. However, they are a select portion of the population in that they are all in the upper 50th percentile on hypnotic susceptability. So we still need to do similar experimentation with the other half of the population. None-the-less, it’s now clear that within the laboratory context lucid dreaming can indeed be trained, and with “punch”, if you will. In one night you can get folks hopping to it!


            I like Stephen’s description of the problem of whether lucid dreaming is universal or not. Probably everybody can swim or ride a bike or whatever, within certain limitations, such as do you have the physiological capacity for it, whether or not you’re exposed to the opportunity to do it, whether or not you have had any prior experiences that would make that kind of activity attractive for you, etc. For example, have you ever been pushed in the water and nearly drowned? If you have, you’re not going to enjoy swimming. So it would be if you’ve had bad nightmares, such as the Viet Nam veterans. I think Ken Dennis was talking about wanting to talk with Viet Nam veterans and train lucidity in those who are having repetitive traumatic nightmares. Their response was, ‘Hell, no. I don’t want to go back into those nightmares. I want them stopped.’ Ken men­tioned a woman that was having dreams about two friends being killed on motorcycles. Her fear was that going back into that dream would simply be a revivification of something that she couldn’t change in the dream any more than could she change it in waking life. So it wasn’t attractive. In any event, probably most people can, to some degree, swim, ride a bike or have a lucid dream. But how motivated are they? How trained, etc?


            One thing I’d like to do first, is to clarify the techniques we used which were effective; what some of the results were; and tease out some specifics. In the first phase of our work, we used Stephen’s MILD technique and an earlier version of post-hypnotic suggestion with 20 experienced lucid dreamers. With respect to the MILD, there was one consistent finding within the experimental context, which was consistent with Roger’s findings and also consistent with what Ken Moss was telling me. However effective MILD may be in the long term, it seems to be very cumbersome for use in an experimental context. Out of Roger’s 83 initial participants, only eight actually com­pleted the suggested techniques. Likewise, I asked 10 in my group who were going to use the MILD to use it on any 7 out of 12 consecutive nights. Nobody could do it. And these folks were motivated. But they were honest about whether they were doing it or not. Six was the maximum number of nights anybody could do it in the assigned time frame. So there seems to be something to be learned there if you’re wanting to produce results in the lab immediately.


            In the second phase of our work, I described the methodology earlier, we found that both waking sugges­tion and waking suggestion in combination with post­hypnotic suggestion were effective with formerly non- lucid, hypnotically susceptible females. So under the right circumstances, both post-hypnotic suggestion and waking instruction can be effective for lucid dream induction. With post-hypnotic suggestion, what seems to be working is, first, you give the post-hypnotic suggestion to have a lucid dream. You implant the direct suggestion. The other thing you seem to be doing is actually inducing changes in the dream content. You’re alerting the dreamer to what’s hap­pening in the dream and that becomes a cue. It’s a little bit like classical conditioning, if you will. And even that is just another way of looking at post-­hypnotic suggestion. In my study, I used a (hypnotically) receptive state, to establish the dreamer’s receptiveness to recognizing, or giving importance to, a dream symbol. Now with respect to that, out of the 15 hypnotic subjects or people who were exposed to hypnosis, ten had a dream symbol in their dreams. And in 7 of those instances the dream symbol was related to inducing lucidity. So we were changing the dream content with post-hypnotic suggestion.


            For example, one woman had a hypnotic dream about a woman who was spinning round in a black cape. That was her hypnotic dream about hypnosis. Now this was a young woman who was going to be a psychology major. But she was also very diffident towards me and this whole idea of lucid dreaming. There was a curious sort of juxtaposition between her espoused interests and the fact that she would kind of down play the whole idea of the significance of dreams. Talking about the idea of lucidity, its application for personal growth, etc., these things just didn’t work right with her. So I asked her a bit more about the hypnotic dream, and she said, ‘Well, I was kind of over in my little world looking down on her, looking down on this woman who was spinning around in a black robe. ‘ My association was, “Wow, she’s looking down on that woman who is kind of an archetypal image of trance induction (whirling dervishes, etc.), and I feel like she’s looking down on this whole experiment.” When I shared my impressions with her, she bought the idea and in fact said her family was pretty much fundamentalist and thought of her inter­ests in the powers of the mind as a “black force” in life. On the last night during hypnosis, she did in fact encounter that symbol, and asked for its assis­tance in enlisting a lucid dream. In her subsequent lucid dream, she reported, “…we (the experimenter and the subject) were talking and there was a woman that we both saw go into the basement of a church. And in the dream I said, ‘ I want to find out if that woman flew last night.’” This was presumably because part of the hypnotic suggestion was to ‘turn off the automatic pilot in your dreams and to fly with awareness. ‘ In any event, she recognized, “Wait a minute, there’s nobody else in this experiment. There’s just me. This is a dream.” And she said to me in the dream, “I’ll go and find her.” And she did. She went down to the basement and asked the woman, “Did you fly in your dreams last night?” And the woman said something like, “You know, it’s just amaz­ing what you can do if you just broaden your perspective.” And there, the dream ended.


In other words, there are numerous examples where the symbol itself did not necessarily appear in the dream, but where the dream content or interactions seemed to clearly allude to the dream symbol.


            Now, by contrast, you don’t seem to change the dream content with waking instruction. It’s more like Tholey’s Hypnogogic Imagery State and what other people have talked about, where you’re establishing sensitivity to sleep onset phenomena and then, similar to biofeedback technique, you extend that sensitivity into dream awareness. So you establish sleep onset awareness, and then extend that into dream awareness.


            With respect to comparing the effectiveness of post­hypnotic and waking suggestion for lucid dream induction, there were an equal number of subjects who were successful with both techniques. However, five very important post hoc measures indicted that, from a qualitative point of view, the hypnotically associated lucid dreams were far superior to non-hypnotically associated lucid dreams: (1) they occurred more frequently in late REM periods; (2) they lasted longer; (3) they required less work by the experimenter; (4) post-experimental lucid dream fre­quency was greater; and (5) the personal relevance and intensity of the lucid dreams were greater.


LaBerge:I’d like to make one final observation based on the work that Jayne summarized on personality differences. The first thing she said is that the variance accounted for by personality factors is very small. What does that mean? It means all of the major variance has got to do with factors like interest. It’s like, if you looked at the personality of piano players, you wouldn’t get very interesting results. Because there are lots of different reasons why you might or might not play the piano having to do with your family and so on. I think the same thing is true of lucid dreaming, that the capacity is general, that everybody could develop it. The question is, are they interested in doing so.


Price: I would agree with that and just say, three general factors seem to contribute to increasing ones chances of becoming lucid. First, the dreamer must value his or her dream life and develop good dream recall, perhaps by keeping a journal. Secondly, one must be very motivated to achieve the state. They have to have some understanding of what they are trying to achieve and really want to do it. Thirdly, they need some method or technique to trigger the state, whether it be through lucid awareness to develop long term lucidity, an intention procedure, or a cue-REMinding procedure to trigger it during a particular night.


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Mental Health Applications



Patricia Garfield (Chair)

San Francisco, California


Judith Malamud

New York, New York


Jean Campbell

Poseidia Institute

Virginia Beach, Virginia


Ann Sayre Wiseman

Cambridge, Massachusetts


Gordon Halliday

The Center for Individual and Family Services

Mansfield, Ohio



Garfield: We turn now to the application of the technique of lucid dreaming. We’ve looked at a lot of ways that induce lucidity, we’ve seen what it’s com­posed of physiologically. But, what can it do for us? What’s the point? Suppose we can produce this state at will, will that make any difference in our lives? And if so, how? What we’re going to consider now of course is the viewpoint of our different distinguished panelists. We have Jean Campbell, Judy Malamud, Ann Wiseman and Gordon Halliday. I’ll tell you a little bit about each of them before they make their comments and then we’ll consider together different aspects of the value of lucid dreaming. Judy is a psychologist from New York City who practices psychotherapy; she leads dream and lucidity workshops. In 1979 she completed her doctoral dissertation on lucid dreaming.


Malamud: Let me tell you how I first started to get interested in lucidity. Ever since I was a teenager in college and was learning about dreams in courses, it seemed to me there was something really weird and self-alienating about waking up from a dream and then using a symbol system, Freudian symbolism, to trans­late the images, as if I were translating a foreign language. I knew I was creating my dreams myself, that I was expressing myself through dreaming, so I wondered why I had to consult some system of dream symbolism in order to understand what I, myself, meant to express. I know what I mean to express when I’m awake or when I’m talking to you, so why don’t I know what I mean to express when I’m dreaming, which is when I’m really talking about the most personal, meaningful aspects of myself? I wanted to get in touch with that side of myself that creates dreams, so that I could become unified within myself.


            When the time came to do my doctoral dissertation, I read Patricia Garfield’s book, Creative Dreaming, and thought, “Why not put dreaming to constructive use? Why let this time go to waste? Maybe there can be actual constructive personality change within the dream itself.” So I began working with pilot sub­jects, instructing them to perform various “positive” behaviors in their dreams, like the Senoi techniques for confronting and conquering danger, exploring mysterious situations, bringing back treasures - until I encountered one pilot subject who was frank enough to tell me, “Judy, I know you’re right that I should do these things, but I really don’t like being told what I should do in my dreams.” I realized she had a point. Who was I to tell her what is good, positive, constructive dream behavior?


            At that point, my interest in lucidity increased, because I realized that the lucid dream state is a state which is inherently totally free and totally safe, and therefore permits one to be maximally crea­tive in whatever way one wishes. I figured I’d change my approach. My new approach would be to teach people to become aware that they’re dreaming and aware of the implications of the fact that they’re dreaming. I would teach them that they are the ones creating everything that goes on in dreams, that everything in the environment reflects aspects of their own thoughts, feelings, wishes, or perceptions of the world, and that the dream state is an alternate reality. The dream world is not the concrete world, which means that the physical body cannot be hurt by what goes on in the dream. Dreamers can do things in a dream that no one will know about in waking life unless they tell, after waking up. The dream state can become an arena for trying out or discovering what your inner wishes and fantasies might be. You can sleep with people that it would be totally unaccep­table to do that with in waking life, and really discover what pleases you in a safe, private environment.


            Recently, I’ve been developing ways of teaching people to get in touch with the side of themselves that uses dream language. For example, I have people practice correlating their feelings and wishes with waking imagery, to familiarize them with how they naturally use imagery for self-expression. I also teach people to become aware of the implications of the fact that they’re dreaming. I feel that it’s not enough, for therapeutic purposes, merely to know you’re dreaming, because - so what? What you really need to know is that you’re creating the dream, you’re safe, the dream world reflects yourself, and therefore, you can learn about yourself.


            The most recent development in my life has been - I’m sure Jean will talk more about this kind of phenomenon - getting in touch with an inner wisdom figure who has been communicating with me mentally, and has even told me “Judy, you’re worried about what you’re going to say on this panel. Don’t worry about it. I’ll write your position paper for you.” She’s trying to teach me to be lucid in waking life. Being lucid in waking life means being aware of the extent to which you are contributing to creating what’s going on, and being aware that what you perceive somehow reflects your own wishes, thoughts, feelings, etc. Waking lucidity is realizing that perception is a subjective matter, so that you can learn about your­self from what you perceive in your daily life. It is also realizing that there are always alternative possibilities. Just as in a dream, there are many alternative possibilities that you can choose among, and so there’s this kind of freedom in waking life as well.


            Let me read you a brief section of my inner wisdom figure’s position paper. Her name is Role Model. She said:

Once upon a time, there were few people who understood that dreams reflected their outlook on life. Freud changed all that. Now, everyone and his brother interprets dreams and purports to understand dreams. What they don’t yet realize is this: Morsels of knowledge about the self are not enough to uproot the fundamental fallacy of human existence, which is that we are victims of reality rather than its creators.

By the way, I don’t know that I agree with everything she says. She’s rather radical.

[Role Model’s position paper continues:]

“The victim posture has been a useful one for humankind for millennia, but this is beginning to change. Lucidity is the fastest way to undo the fundamental error. It is better not to under­stand too much before one has gained the benefits of error, hence dreams are not ordinarily lucid. The struggle to become lucid represents a first step toward willingness to see into the power of one’s true nature. Fortunately, there is no harm in delaying knowledge or wisdom. They come by themselves to everyone, in time. But the clini­cal use of techniques for becoming lucid in dreams promises to speed up that process of gaining self-knowledge, for those who are in a hurry.”



Garfield: We’ve seen here the values of lucid dream­ing as experienced by Judy: a sense of freedom, of an environment to test out different possibilities, of a safe place to make discoveries and of a place to get in touch with wisdom - that’s very precious, no matter what his or her name is.


            Jean Campbell is director of Poseidia Institute, an institute in Virginia Beach. She’s the author of a book called Dreams Beyond Dreaming and she has been actively conducting dream research, particularly along the lines of dreams as an altered state of conscious­ness, for the last 12 years. Her current research project is called Dreams to the Tenth Power.


Campbell: I’m not a psychologist, I’m a parapsychologist and Poseidia Institute is a parapsychology research organization. What that means is that the bulk of my research has been in dreams as an altered state of consciousness, that is, looking at conscious­ness as a continuum from waking state to a whole variety of other states, dreams being only one of them, and lucid dreaming being part of that continuum of consciousness.


            Recently we have been doing some research called “Dreams to the Tenth Power,” which is a study of group dreaming. That is, not only is it possible to have people dream lucidly, but is it possible to control the dream state? Is it possible to have people dream simultaneously, dream together, dream on some regular basis with each other? There are a lot of people by this time who appear to be proving that that might be true. That is, if we decide as a group that we want to dream tonight, together, pick a place, pick a time, and see what happens. We could do it. We’ve tried this with people who are not regular lucid dreamers and people who are regular lucid dreamers.

            Since that is not really the subject of this panel, I don’t want to go any further with that but only to say that although I am not a counselor myself, we do counseling at Poseidia. I have seen what looks to me like one of the most beneficial uses of lucid dreaming or lucidity in therapy in the past few months. That is, one of the therapists who works through Poseidia Institute, in addition to doing some work with clients in terms of dreaming with each other, had a client who had a particularly difficult problem with nightmares. The client would only fragmentarily remember the nightmare but knew that it was tremendously traumatic. What the therapist did, having already been trained in lucidity, was dream with the client.


            She first dreamed the dream as the client was having the dream, that is, she saw the dream through the client’s eyes, while she was asleep. Then she proceeded, because she knew she was asleep, to see the dream from her own perspective. That is, from her own clinical perspective. What this gave her was insight into, or awareness of, the client’s dream. It gave her awareness of how to cope with the dream and then in the next counseling session she was able to work with the client with the dream content and get through what the nightmare was and how to deal with it. This I see as only one aspect of what lucidity is able to do for all of us. Since we’re not all therapists it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll be doing that particular kind of thing, but being lucid, being able to draw on all of our capabilities, all of the awarenesses that are available to us in lucidity, certainly seems to me to be a marvelous thing to have.


Garfield: Assuming that it is possible for a group of people to simultaneously dream together, what would you see as being the benefit of that?


Campbell: Let’s see. Say we (signifying the panel) had a problem, and say that at a waking level we, for our own anxiety reasons, wanted to keep a lot back. The rules are different in the dream state. We allow ourselves different things in the dream state. Like Judy was saying, you can sleep with a lot of different people in the dream state. I’m not suggesting that that’s what we would do with the problem. However, say that we decided as a group to dream together. I’m not saying that we would have to be lucid, but cer­tainly being lucid would be of some use. That is, being aware that we were dreaming together might be of some value to us. But, because the rules are dif­ferent in the dream state, if our problem was that we had a problem together, but we happened to live and be at home in California, and New York, and Virginia Beach, it’s a great way to call a conference. It costs less than the telephone and allows you to solve some things.


Garfield: Ann Sayre Wiseman is an artist and therapist working with dreams and art in psychotherapy at the Arts Institute of Expressive Therapy at Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her particular focus is an interesting concept based on finding the image of a problem and satisfying it. It locates the style of dialogue needed to negotiate self empowering strategies for integration and rebalancing opposing forces inside us. Ann, let’s hear more about that.


Wiseman: We’ve been talking about lucid dreaming. I think what I’m teaching and practicing is lucid waking, (for lack of a better name). It is similar, it taps the same wave length that is tapped while dreaming but you can, by closing your eyes and going deep inside, tap it in the waking state too. It is the source of imagining and picture language that produce dreams and that mirror our feelings. Since imagery is the picture language, I use a lot of art, and torn paper collage as a medium to restage a dream and work it through to satisfaction. We make a collage map of a dream or a problem, a situation or even an illness, whatever the issue is. Then using closed eye imaging we invite more information from this lucid source which our dreams have access to. A kind of meditation.


            When I was three years old I experienced this lucid awareness on a night trip that acquainted me with my pre-body essence. I had fragments of this dream throughout childhood. It was dynamic elements sur­passing the limits of a dream. I flew through the universe and contacted all the elements, saw color in every aspect of its spectrum, and woke from it with the “why of life” question, and always in my mouth I tasted rust (which of course, is very similar to the taste of blood, which made me think it was a birth dream). This flight changed from limitless boundries to the confines of my own momentum as I came into a sort of spiraling pattern - the way water begins to spiral down a spout after the plug is out. As my essence drew near the center the rotations quickened and the colors pulled more pigment out of the develop­ing speed, until I began to drown in black lava which ultimately exploded from suffocation. I’d always wake with the taste of rust in my mouth and the “why of life” question. I woke more astonished than frightened. Astonished to find I could breath and had landed safely.


            This recurring revelation has made me believe that probably children know all there is to know from the very start of conception but by entering the human form it takes them a lifetime to become reacquainted with this essence awareness. Guided imagery is very close to it, at least it opens some of the unexercised passages or wave lengths which our culture doesn’t tap very often. I had another lucid experience at Esalen while doing a workstudy program. I was weeding and clearing land and was sent out onto the cliff alone to turn earth for a new garden. I stood looking out over the vast Pacific and asked the universe “Why do I think everyone knows more than I do?” and the universe replied, “Because you refuse to take responsibility for what you know.” There again, it sounded like the same message only this time I understood it because it was given me in words.


            Then about eight years ago, when I started working, training in psychotherapy, Gestalt and Psychosynthesis I realized art was the language of imagery and feeling and I had a fantastic clarification dream. Again the universe spoke to me. I was like a tiny ant sticking out off the side of the earth and a giant megaphone in the outer space shouted “FIND THE IMAGE AND SATISFY IT”. No matter what issue we’re working on, it works.


            I use this as a guide. It is the basis of my work. The same with problem solving and dream paradoxes. I think it’s absolutely amazing. I wish I had time to share some stories. I will talk about one piece of art since no one is celebrating art here and it is so important, such a quick helper. This story is about the successful birth of a threatened baby. The mother was a student in one of my workshops. She was six months pregnant. During this training in working with dreams and self balancing each student’s body was outlined so they could step outside their body and contemplate the space they took up in the universe.


            Then I lead them on a guided trip inside the body to understand what was going on inside, to see how we treat our bodies and observe where strength and blockages are, where creativity is located and dialogue with organs that are complaining or dissatisfied. Then all this new information is drawn into the body outline so we can see it and acknowledge what it’s like to live inside this state. Then we spend the rest of the week working out dialogues and negotiating changes that create a fairer balance, a new commitment to our bodies, more agreement, more cooperation, new alignment. For many it is symbolic surgery and dynamic healing can occur. Divorced organs can get reintegrated and the inner child can find a nurturing home at last.


            Well, this young mother-to-be, found she had three heavy chains binding her body, restraining all action and flow of energy to her arms and legs so she’d become numb. One chain around her diaphragm was con­stricting the growth of her baby who said, during its dialogue with her, that it was on the verge of suffocation. On her body map she had no mouth and her throat was full of stones (30, one for each of her years), and blocking the birth canal was an “iron vice”. Using closed eye imaging she asked the body where to begin and her body said “First, you need to open my eyes.” (Please note that only “the self” knows the proper sequence for healing or change. The therapist can only guess and guide and give the power back to the client.) I asked her to dialogue with the stones. They were “pellets of anger” which she’d never dared deliver to her father because no one in the family was allowed to oppose her father, who was a survivor of a childhood in the Holocaust death camps. His power over the family, especially his daughter was supreme. As she was not ready to deliver the stones, she agreed to remove them from her esophagus and keep them at hand until she found words for them for which she needed a lot more time. In the mean time, she agreed to develop her voice so it could be heard. To undo the numbness she had to drop the shoulder chain, which her body reminded her she could only do if she could remember how to relax. The sequence that led to relaxation was a marvelous detour to Japan where she remembered she’d last experienced relaxation in the hot tubs. Again, using suggestion, she returned to the source and satisfied the image of numbness. The chain was willing to drop off only after the heat

activated the immobile arms and legs so she could defend her baby with them.


            The sequence goes on and on and each repair was added to this body map until she was in charge of her body. The chain around the diaphragm was a very complex detour that involved demanding the key to the lock from her father who was used to having everything his way, who it turned out, “owned” her baby and her husband as well as her sexual freedom. I’m telling you this briefly today because she called me before I set out for this conference to say that this baby was successfully born. She was able to dilate only by sitting in a hot shower which she insisted on doing against her doctors commands. She had refused to let him take the baby by Caesarian section. She insisted on a hot shower so she could let herself relax and dilate. (I wonder how many doctors understand that their patients are the only ones who know the proper sequence of things that must happen before willingness to deliver, heal or change can begin.) Lucid aware­ness is inside us all and we here are the believers, therefore we must be the teachers. Find the image and satisfy it.


Garfield: That’s a very interesting case. We see here then another possible value, in this case in a kind of lucid waking dream. The “dreamer” drew on the wisdom that comes from within and got actual physiological help in achieving important biological processes that she might not have had without this kind of self—reflection. Great.


            And, finally we hear from Gordon Halliday who is a psychologist working with a community mental health center in Ohio.


Halliday: I’d like to touch on three areas where I’ve used lucid dreaming in a therapeutic setting. One is for folks with a specific problem of not being able to tell when they’re awake or dreaming. Two, with people with nightmares, particularly recurring traumatic nightmares. Third, for individuals who feel ab­solutely powerless to make any change in their lives. If they make one change anywhere you get a snowballing effect, and the potential of lucidity is at least one potential that some people can use to start making that one change. I’ll comment more on that later.


            Shortly after Hearne’s list of 10 criteria for distin­guishing the dreaming state from the wakeful state was published in the May 19, 1982 issue of Lucidity Letter, I had a client who came in for hypnotherapy for weight loss. As part of the initial interview, she mentioned she still had problems telling whether she was awake or dreaming. She had been in therapy about a year previously at the mental health center where I saw her. Her previous therapist said some­thing like “grow up, everyone can do that” (distinguish dreams from waking). The therapist’s idea perhaps being that this confusion is a fairly normal impasse occurring at perhaps age 5, which most children get through. That is one of the jobs of parents, to help kids separate when they’re awake and when they’re asleep. My client didn’t and it caused her problems, particularly in her social life. She didn’t know, for example, if the conversation she had with somebody yesterday occurred in a dream, or oc­curred when she was awake. If she thought it occurred in a dream (when it really occurred when awake), naturally she wouldn’t continue it and people get hostile and say “why are you snubbing me”. If it actually occurred in a dream but she thought it oc­curred in the awake state, she would try to continue the conversation but people would look at her and say, “what are you talking about?”


            She was a factory worker who was doing pretty well in other areas of her life but she found that this in­ability to distinguish dreams from reality caused her some difficulty. She was therefore open for some answers to rectify this situation. As part of our second session with this client, we reviewed with her Hearne’s 10 tests for differentiating the dream from the waking state. We gave her a copy of these tests and suggested she review them at home from time to time.


            One week later she came back and said she had a dream and she used one of the criteria (to look carefully at the surroundings and see if there is something that should not be there) to know that it was a dream. That was helpful for her, for when she encountered a 3 or 4 foot rat at her factory, she knew that that was a dream because the Orkin man had been around the other day and there shouldn’t be any rats at all. (It didn’t strike her as strange that the rat was three feet tall.) She was very pleased with those results. I’ve had another client since then who has also used Hearne’s criteria and also found it helpful.


            The second place where lucidity training has been useful is in traumatic nightmares, with the idea that it’s possible to make a change. Somebody in the audience mentioned Vietnam veterans. I haven’t worked much with Vietnam veterans but one of my colleagues worked extensively with them. I mentioned to him the technique of becoming first aware that you’re dreaming and then making a small change. One of his clients who was a Vietnam veteran had a recurring nightmare of being on a boat exposed to lots of machine gun fire, and there was nothing he could do. So he was encouraged first to make him become aware that he was dreaming and then make a small change in the dream. For example, change the color of some of the bushes, change the type of boat you are on. He was encouraged rather than going for the “biggies”, ie, dream content stuff with a lot of emotion. The client found that method marvelous, and as often happens, as soon as he made a small change, the nightmare ended. So this didn’t result in a continued lucid state but at least it resulted in control of the dream and in this case ending the nightmare.


            This case was similar to a case that I had with a fellow who had been run over by a tractor about a year before I saw him (this case was published in Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1982, 54, 413-414). He was seen in a hospital on consultation for several reasons. He mentioned that he had nightmares about two or three times a week which replayed the traumatic experience. We encouraged him to become aware of the fact that he was dreaming. Some folks just pick up the idea and run with it once you tell them it is possible. He did that. We then encouraged him to make a small change, such as changing the color of one of the tool sheds on the farm where he was run over, rather than trying to change being run. As before, when he made that small change, his nightmare ended. He then found himself in a pleasant dream, the first one he had had in over a year, which was dancing with his wife.


            There are some limitations to this technique. For instance, a person was in an industrial accident. He complained of recurrent traumatic nightmares where once again he was on the barge and the factory along the river released the toxic gas which caused his choking and inability to breath. He woke up very upset. What he wanted was valium. He simply wasn’t willing to consider other alternatives such as lucidity training or keeping a gas mask around!


            Similarly, in another case a fellow was seen for disability evaluation had a recurring traumatic nightmare concerning his fall from a factory ceiling. He pointed out that he understood how lucidity train­ing could change his nightmare but his disability was so important to him that he didn’t want to change anything that could remotely effect getting disability!


            Another class of cases where lucidity training with change instructions has not worked is with those who believe that dreams form a special source of knowledge, particularly prophetic. It was upsetting to these individuals for them to try to change a dream or try to say they are in control of a dream as they felt that dreams are a direct expression of the spirit or of God. One such case was a woman who had married the pastor of a fundamentalist church. She had worked hard at her strict religious beliefs. She didn’t allow television watching because that was “of the world”. Her children weren’t allowed to play football because that was “of the world”. One was supposed to spend all of one’s time contemplating the other world and being dutiful. There was, however, one exception. If she had a prophetic dream, coming not from her but from God, instructing her to be lenient about some church rules, her husband had no choice but to grant her wishes. She was extremely reluctant to even consider that dreams could be lucid or even, for that matter that they come from the unconscious.


            Finally, the third use of lucidity is to empower people to make changes. One client had the presenting problem of “being in a daze”. She had been in a daze for a number of years. For many years she had been extensively abused both physically and sexually by her father and others. She had a mild mental retardation diagnosis, was divorced, had lost her children to Children’s Services, and was in a bad relationship with her boy friend. Because of her childhood abuse, she was terrified of men. She nevertheless wanted to dance with her boy friend. We tried to work out a de-conditioning situation in which she gradually got within a foot of a man and then gradually touched him, etc. She never really got involved with that proce­dure. We talked about her frequent nightmares and suggested that she try to confront and conquer them. She liked that idea, despite not having any prior experience with it, and reported at her fourth session a nightmare of a hand that was trying to choke her and kill some pets. To her surprise she knew that she could make a change in the dream. She took a baseball bat and beat the hand to death, which was very unlike her waking behavior. It was, she said, “the first time I fought back”. She was thrilled with that and subsequently had the determination to successfully dance with her boy friend. Hartman (The Nightmare, 1984, p. 223) and some others suggest that the change comes first in the personality and then the dream changes, but for this particular patient the nice dream clearly came first. She also did 4 or 5 other positive things like watch less television and take walks. (Note: Five months after this dream she was still doing relatively well. She was free of nightmares which she attributed to thinking good things - rather than upsetting things - prior to sleep).


Garfield: Gordon has added some things for us to consider. We’ve already mentioned a lot of the values of lucid dreaming, provided the skill is developed, but also we need to consider what is the appropriate population for lucid dreaming. Gordon has just men­tioned three cases where it doesn’t apply, people who are getting secondary benefits from their “non-lucid” dreams, such as receiving disability payments or controlling your husband. It then becomes difficult if not impossible to interest them in the idea of lucid dreaming.


            We might also consider, is lucidity just for us nor­mals versus neurotics? Can lucid dream training be used with a psychotic individual? Can it be used with children equally as well as with adults?


            Assuming you can make a difference, we also need to look at what specifically are the desirable responses in a lucid dream. Some have been suggested and Gordon just added another. Just make a small change, don’t go for the “biggie”; just change the color of the boat. Begin little.


            Is it best to confront a hostile dream figure - and one can confront just by saying “hey, cut it out” or staring into their eyes or resisting or demolishing them completely with a baseball bat? Is that better, in some instances, than getting help? Or should one befriend a hostile dream figure, or integrate with a dream figure? There are many options we can take. Some people take sides, “This is no good, this is the only right way to do it”. I wonder if there aren’t specific occasions where specific things are called for, depending on the circumstances of the dreamer. I’d be interested in the panel’s thoughts on this.


Malamud: I’d like to comment on that last question about what’s appropriate to do in a dream. This is a personal value: what’s appropriate to do in a dream is what makes you happy, and that’s what I try to teach people to do in their lucid dreams or in their lucid fantasies. I work mostly with teaching people to be lucid in their fantasies.


            I think there are differences in the degree to which certain actions can be called lucid. For example, those who choose to counterattack a dream enemy are lucid perhaps to the extent that they realize that they are dreaming, but they’re not realizing an impor­tant implication of that fact, that is, they’re safe; there’s no way that their physical body can be harmed by this image. In order to become more lucid, they have to realize that there’s no need to counterattack. I have found, in working with a couple of my dissertation subjects - I had six subjects that I worked with intensively - that the stage of counterattack was a useful one for learning that you really are safe. In other words, it seemed the subjects had to learn that they had power in the dream, that they could control things, that they could defend themselves and go through the phase of counterattack enough to really realize they were safe and that defense was not necessary. Then the next phase would be friendly encounter: “Who are you? What can you tell me about myself?” But that didn’t happen until they got over being afraid. If you keep in mind that the enemy dream image is a reflection of some aspect of self, then defending against it is also a process of learn­ing, “I’m not going to be overwhelmed; I can keep this aspect of myself under control.” Once it’s under control, “Okay, now I’ll talk to you; now I’ll find out who you are and what you have to teach me.”


Garfield: We might postulate a developmental situation. Paul Tholey’s work on comparing different types of responses to a hostile dream figure is very interesting, He feels that a conciliatory behavior is most effective. But I noted that he used conciliation after he had used a lot of confronting


Wiseman: I think that it’s very important that the victim reconnect with that fear after making himself safe now that he has empowered himself. The enemy often reflects a polarized position in oneself. Therapy can help people modify. Most of us are just “either/or”, we don’t automatically exercise the options in the middle.


Garfield: I think that one of the things that we need to work out as explorers in this dream field is this very kind of thing. Do we need the power? I would say, yes. This is my own personal bias, so I’m not really sure if I’m right or not, but it’s what works for me. I think that there are stages beyond that that are important to move to, including integration with whatever figure you need to have. Paul Tholey’s work is important and is moving in the direction of making sense out of this question. How do we build a hierarchy? How do we make these choices? (Editors Note: Although most of Tholey’s work is in German, he has an English chapter on his clinical methods in Gackenbach and LaBerge’s (Editors) Lucid Dreaming: New Research on Consciousness During Sleep. It will be published by Plenum and is due out in 1987.)


Campbell: I’d like to respond. I’ve not only worked with a lot of groups of people in the area of lucidity, but for a couple of years we did a call-in radio talk show, with groups of people talking about lucidity with each other. I don’t think there is an appropriate group. I don’t think that it’s a judgment that I feel comfortable making for somebody else. That is, I feel that the powers, or the word that we’ve been using here - personal powers, ability of the individual to be creative or whatever - I think it’s something that is inherent. We traditionally have not looked at it, not allowed ourselves. As you were saying children have appeared to have the ability. I was teaching a high school class once and mentioned the idea of lucidity. I was grading papers the next day and one of the kids came in and said, “It works.”


            I said, What works?”


            She said, “I looked at my hands and it works just fine.” No trying to learn how to be lucid or any­thing. Just a matter of very natural “working”. Although I think there’s usefulness in support, and if you’re talking about people who are psychotic or people who are very afraid, there’s a need for support groups. I don’t think it’s necessary to limit who can do these dream techniques.


Audience Question: Would you see the use of such techniques, as coming from one’s personal interest in the topic or could it be used with any group.


Campbell: With the radio show God knows who was listening in at any particular time, or what kind of people they were, but I know they were excited. In the hour in which we dealt with dreams and lucidity the phones were all lit up.


            I’d like to give some speculations on the personal use of lucid dream techniques. I haven’t worked with enough people to be able to really know, but I would think that readiness for lucidity and the ability to benefit from lucidity would cut across these categories of normals, neurotics, psychotics, children, and adults. I agree that what would be essential is wanting the lucid attitude. That is, wanting to be aware of your power to create reality. Wanting to know yourself better by recognizing your­self as you’re reflected in what you experience around you. Wanting to feel that you have freedom. We all, to some extent, do not want those things. We all, to some extent, want to hide from what we create, from the fact that we do have input into our situations. We want to hide from who we are and can be terrified by facing some aspects of ourselves. Often, paradoxi­cally, we want to feel that we have no choice, that situations are forced on us. In my experience working with people. I’ve found that those are the kinds of obstacles you come up against. If you focus on those three aspects of lucidity, people become very aware of what their resistances are and become more free and more aware of their power.


Garfield: That’s all the time we have today for touching on these issues but they are definitely ones to take home with us from the conference and to use in our own settings. Those of you who have read Theodore Rosack’s The Dream Watcher, perhaps got a flash as some of these people were talking. He proposes that dreaming can go a long way and that it can really change the world.


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News and Notes


Below is a list of a few “new age” publications which frequently print stories and information about lucid dreaming.


1 . ASD Newsletter — The ASD Newsletter is a quarterly publication of the Association for the Study of Dreams. It leans toward a magazine format with articles by professionals written and/or edited for a lay readership. Articles include those which are theoretical, empirical, educational and clinical as well as book reviews. For information write to ASD, P.O. Box 590475, San Francisco, Ca., 94159-1475.

2.    Brain/Mind Bulletin — The Brain/Mind Bulletin is a one-of-a-kind publication, appearing every three weeks, relating cutting edge developments, findings and theories in consciousness and brain research, psychology, education, creativity, and scientific and cultural innovation. For subscription information write to: Brain/Mind Bulletin, P.O. Box 42211, Los Angeles, CA., 90042.

3.    Dream Network Bulletin — The Dream Network Bulletin is a bimonthly publication whose primary focus is upon “experiential dreamwork”. Readers send in articles, personal experiences, research reports, art work and poetry related to dreams. For subscrip­tion information write to: DNB, 670 E. Rio Road, Charlottesville, Va., 22901.

4.    The Open Mind — Strongly interested in bridging unnecessary gaps between science, the spiritual, and personal growth. Dr. Charles Tart’s writings reflect more than 20 years of personal involvement in such disciplines as Aikido, Buddhism, psychological growth processes, and the Gurdjieff work. A popular lecturer as well as an internationally recognized scientist, Dr. Tart is publishing The Open Mind as his way of sharing his understandings (and questions) about the nature of our human consciousness with like-minded people seeking a wider vision of human potentials. For subscription information write to: Psychological Processes, Inc., P.O. Box 37, El Cerrito, CA,. 914530.



Lucid Dreaming Workshops With Stephen LaBerge

For details write: Lucidity Project; P. 0. Box 2364

Stanford, CA 94305


July 11—13, Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA.

Sept 26—28, American Speakers Assoc., Houston, TX.

Oct 4-5, Interface, Boston, MA.




Lucid Dreams Bibliography Update


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


Dane, J. R. (1986). The clinical utility of lucid dream induction via hypnosis and personal symbols. (Abstract) American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 28(3), 193-194.

Dane, J. R. & Van de Castle, R. (1986). A comparison of waking instructions and post hypnotic suggestion for lucid dream induction. (Abstract). American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 28(3), 193.

Domhoff, G. W. (1985). The mystique of dreams:  A search for Utopia through Senoi dream theory. Berkeley, CA.: University of California Press.

Gackenbach, J. I. (1985—86). A survey of considera­tions for inducing conscious awareness of dreaming while dreaming. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 5(1), 41—55.

Gackenbach, J. I. (1986). Do you know when you’re dreaming? Fate, 39(6), 71-77.

Gackenbach, J. I., & LaBerge, S. P. (1986). An over­view of lucid dreaming. In A. Sheikh (Ed.), International review of mental imagery (pp. 57—89). New York: Human Sciences Press.

Gillespie, G. (1985). From lucid dream to dreamless sleep. ASD Newsletter, 2(4), 6-8.

Kohr, R. L. (1982). Near-death experience and its relationship to psi and various altered states. Theta, 10(3), 50-53.

Kueny, S. R. (1985). An examination of auditory cueing in REM sleep for the induction of lucid dreams. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Pacific Graduate School of Psychology.

LaBerge, S. P. (1985). The psychophysiology of lucid dreaming: The temporal distribution of lucid dreams within and between REM periods. Psychophysiology, 22(5), 599.

LaBerge, S. P. (1985). The temporal distribution of lucid dreams. Sleep Research, 14, 113.

LaBerge, S. P. & Gackenbach, J. I. (1986). Lucid dreaming. In B.B. Wolman & N. Ullman (Eds.), Handbook of states of consciousness (pp.159—198). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Lavie, P. & Wollman, M. A case report of a dream-story teller. Sleep Research, 14, 114.

Overman, P. (1986). Sri Aurobindo and a new model of dream consciousness. ASD Newsletter, 3(2), 5-6.

Podvoll, E. M. (1985). The experience of dreaming and the. practice of awareness. Naropa Institute Journal of Psychology, 3, 21-42.

Smolucha, F. (1985). Lucid dreaming [Review of Lucid Dreaming]. Choice, 23(1), 206.

Tart, C. (1986). Lucid dreams and out-of-body experiences. The Open Mind, 3(3), 1—10.

Tholey, P. (1985). Review of a program of psychotheraputic application of lucid dreaming. Oniros, 8-14.

Tholey, P. (1985). Do dream figures possess a con­sciousness of their own? An experimental - phenomenological study using lucid dreaming. German Journal of Psychology, 9(4), 284.


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