How a Scientific Experiment Proved That Lucid Dreaming Exists

Lucid dreaming is about becoming conscious in your dreams. The common preconception is that when asleep or dreaming the unconscious mind is in charge and we are never conscious. A few decades ago scientists dismissed the idea of conscious sleep and dreaming despite people reporting having conscious dreams. At that time lucid dreaming researchers were striving to design an experiment that would prove lucid dreaming.

Proof came from Hull University in 1975. Psychologist Dr Keith Hearne knew that the subjective testimonies of lucid dreamers could not serve as proof  of lucid dreaming. The psychologist was looking for a way to receive a signal from the lucid dreamer while still dreaming. If he could get some type of signal or measurement from the dreamer he could prove that lucid dreaming is real.

During dreaming unlike other parts of the body, the eyes are not paralysed. Dreaming happens during the REM (Rapid-Eye-Movement) state. Dr Hearne, thought that maybe the lucid dreamer while asleep can  “signal” using his eyes to confirm that he is conscious. The scientist and subject lucid dreamer agreed on a set of eye movements that would be used by the dreamer to signal that he is conscious in his dreamer and basically  send a “message” from the dream-world to our awake-reality. The signal was seven or eight right to left eye movement. Basic eye-tracking equipment would record and plot they eye movements on paper.

The experiment was successful. With equipment readings confirming that the subject was asleep and in the REM state the lucid dreamer was able to become conscious in his dream and perform the sequence of agreed eye movements. Initially the plotter was plotting random lines as the eyes moved randomly during REM sleep. Suddenly, the agreed and deliberate eye movements in the form of large zig-zag movements.out of the randomness, the requested, deliberate, sequence of large zig-zag movements. Once awake, the subject was able to describe how he became conscious in his dream and and made the signals  before continuing with his lucid dream experience. These were the first ever signals communicated from within a lucid dream.

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