Scientists have managed to communicate with sleeping people – and vice versa. This allowed the dreamers to solve simple math problems and answer simple yes / no questions.
A team of scientists from the Netherlands, the United States, Germany and France has managed to break into the dreams of sleeping people and communicate with them. More specifically, they did this with 36 test subjects who were in a lucid dream – a dream in which the dreamer is aware that he is dreaming.
Communicate with the outside world
The scientists asked simple questions, to which the sleepers answered or not by moving their eyes or face in a particular way.
“We have known since the 1980s that lucid dreamers can communicate from dreams through these signals (eye and facial movements, ed.), ”lead author Karen Konkoly of Northwestern University told NPR radio station. What this team wanted to find out, however, was whether dreamers can also receive and respond to information during the dream.
Yes, it turns out. Of the 158 attempts, the lucid dreamers were able to give correct answers in 18 percent of the cases – which, according to the researchers, is enough to demonstrate that mutual communication is possible during REM sleep.
In another 18 percent it was not clear whether the participants actually answered or not, and in 3 percent of the cases an incorrect answer was given. In 61 percent of the cases, the subjects did not answer at all.
A typical calculation that the researchers presented was: “How much is 8 – 6?” For example, a dreaming 19-year-old American managed to answer that question by moving his eyes from left to right twice to indicate the number “2”. When they asked him the question again, he gave the same answer with his eyes.
According to neuroscientist Martin Dresler of Radboud University in Nijmegen, where the Dutch part of the study took place, such a study is important to find out exactly what we dream about. “Now we ask that afterwards. But then you are actually asking for a memory, and it is unreliable, ”he says De Volkskrant. “Ultimately you want to hear in real time what dreaming people go through.”