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March 3, 2021

In your dreams! Researchers achieve two-way communication with dreaming people

By monitoring electrical signals from the sleeping participants' brain and eyes, researchers at Northwestern University, along with scientists in France, Germany and the Netherlands, have independently demonstrated two-way communication with people as they are lucidly dreaming during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. The breakthrough challenges current paradigms of human consciousness.

Credit: National Science Foundation/Karson Productions

In your dreams.

I'm Bob Karson with The Discovery Files, from NSF -- the U.S. National Science Foundation.

The mysterious, often bizarre world of dreams. Most of us have them, but what happens when we dream is far from understood scientifically.

An international team, including researchers from Northwestern University, has uncovered new findings that reveal some surprising capabilities of our mind: the ability for dreaming people in REM sleep to correctly respond to questions from someone who's awake.

The dream research was conducted at four universities around the world. Each team used different methods with an overall goal of finding out if two-way communication with a person in a verified lucid dream state is possible -- lucid dreams being those where you're aware you're dreaming.

The study showed dreaming people are capable of manipulating information and signaling answers with their eyes, while remaining asleep! The researchers also found that it is possible for dreaming people to follow instructions, do simple math, and answer yes-or-no questions.

(Sound effect: snoring) The discovery could lead to methods that help people solve complex problems or practice difficult skills during sleep. The teams hope to learn more about the connections between sleep and memory, and how dreams may shed light on that.

Sounds like a 'dream' job.

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