Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreaming is a phenomenon that is clearly not understood, but been able to at least trigger it would be a great start.  Meditation is very much trying to do just this and although the goals there are generally spiritual, the existence of a clear physical phenomenon strongly suggests that it needs to be rethought and applied to a range of separate ends.

Using it as a learning tool that obviously leaps to mind.  Exploring astral plains under controlled conditions also appeals.  Just what else may we attempt if it can be controlled?  What is most important is developing the ability to induce it easily for everyone.  That does not seem to have happened as yet although the promise is there and it needs to become a cost effective system.

I have experienced what is best described as a lucid dream in which completely uncalled for and unusual information was shared with me that both confirmed certain things and opened the door to additional considerations.  It would have been a perfect mode in which to absorb the contents of a substantial text and perhaps even be able to recall it after.  It would be well worth trying if one could manage the process.

It struck me that revelation was possible in this mode which is very interesting for a prepared mind.

Lucid Dreaming could be used for learning new skills and improved decision making

DECEMBER 23, 2011

New Scientist - A slew of recent studies have shown that people can use dreams to improve decision-making and physical skills. They could even help people regain mobility following a stroke.

Lucid dreaming is an unusual phenomenon in which some people are able to "wake up" while still in a dream. Though the dreamer is technically asleep, they are aware of their situation and are able to control the content of their dreams. In this state, people are also able to signal to researchers that they have entered a lucid dream through a series of prearranged eye movements; no other movement is possible during REM sleep.

Being in command of dreams opens up opportunities to manipulate them for learning and training that have an impact once the dreamer wakes up. Peter Morgan at Yale University and colleagues have shown that lucid dreamers perform better in a gambling task designed to test the functioning of the brain's ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which is thought to be involved in emotional decision-making and social interactions (Consciousness and Cognition, DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2010.08.001).  +By training this region through lucid dreams, Morgan hopes to be able to improve a person's social control and decision-making abilities.
Activity in the prefrontal cortex may distinguish the meta-awareness experienced during lucid dreams from its absence in normal dreams. To examine a possible relationship between dream lucidity and prefrontal task performance, we carried out a prospective study in 28 high school students. Participants performed the Wisconsin Card Sort and Iowa Gambling tasks, then for 1 week kept dream journals and reported sleep quality and lucidity-related dream characteristics. Participants who exhibited a greater degree of lucidity performed significantly better on the task that engages the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (the Iowa Gambling Task), but degree of lucidity achieved did not distinguish performance on the task that engages the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (the Wisconsin Card Sort Task), nor did it distinguish self-reported sleep quality or baseline characteristics. The association between performance on the Iowa Gambling Task and lucidity suggests a connection between lucid dreaming and ventromedial prefrontal function.

The lucid dreamers were more likely to report that they were free from mental health problems. They also scored more highly on questions relating to self-confidence, tended to be more assertive, and showed a greater satisfaction with life.

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