Lucid Dreaming Can Be Induced By Electric Scalp Stimulation, Study Finds

Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 1 Comment

Nicola Davis | The Guardian | May 11th 2014

dreaming sleepScientists have discovered that it is possible to induce lucid dreaming in sleepers by applying mild electrical currents to their scalps, a study says.

Lucid dreaming is when a sleeper recognises they are dreaming and may even be able to manipulate the dream’s plot and control their behaviour.


“The key finding is that you can, surprisingly, by scalp stimulation, influence the brain. And you can influence the brain in such a way that a sleeper, a dreamer, becomes aware that he is dreaming,” said Professor J Allan Hobson, from Harvard Medical School, who co-authored the paper published in Nature Neuroscience.

Previous research, led by Dr Ursula Voss of Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University in Germany, suggests lucid dreaming is a unique state that displays aspects of both REM-sleep – the stage of sleep in which most of our dreams occur – and waking. By examining the sleepers’ brainwaves over a range of frequencies, scientists have found that lucid dreamers demonstrate a shift towards a more “awake-like” state in the frontal and temporal parts of the brain, with the peak in increased activity occurring around 40Hz.

“Lucid dreaming is a very good tool to observe what happens in the brain and what is causally necessary for secondary consciousness,” Voss said.

Now Voss and her team have reported that it is possible to induce lucid dreaming by delivering electrical stimulation, in the form of an alternating current to a sleeper’s scalp at this frequency.

The study involved 27 volunteers, none of whom had experienced lucid dreaming before. The researchers waited until the volunteers were experiencing uninterrupted REM sleep before applying electrical stimulation to the frontal and temporal positions of the volunteers’ scalps.


The applied stimulation had a variety of frequencies between two and 100Hz, but neither the experimenter nor the volunteer was informed which frequency was used, or whether a current was applied. Five to 10 seconds later the volunteers were roused from their sleep and asked to report on their dreams. Brain activity was monitored continuously throughout the experiment.

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  1. contact@howtolucid.com' HowToLucid says:

    This is incredible.

    The fact that people have tried to do this is incredible, lovely to see people taking more of an interest in lucid dreaming.

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