TSC 2010 Pre-Conference Workshop


Session 1 Monday Morning, April 12 (9:00a-1:00p)      TCC - MOHAVE

Half Day, $75


LUCID DREAMING:   Theory and Practice

Stephen LaBerge

In the course of everyday life, most people do not question whether they are awake. Likewise, while dreaming, people are not usually aware that they are dreaming. Cognizant or “lucid” dreaming is a significant exception to this generalization. During lucid dreams, one can reason rationally, remember the conditions of waking life, and chose one’s course of action--all while remaining soundly asleep, fully engaged in a dream world that can appear astonishingly real. Laboratory research at Stanford and elsewhere has proved by means of voluntary eye-movement signals that lucid dreams occur during unequivocal REM sleep.   The fact that lucid dreamers can remember to perform planned actions and signal to the laboratory opens the dream state to more direct study. Lucid dreamers can perform experiments while dreaming, “time-stamping” particular dream events with eye-movement signals, allowing correlations between the dreamer's subjective reports and physiology, and enabling the methodical testing of hypotheses. We have used this strategy in a series of studies demonstrating significant correspondence between dreamed actions and physiological responses.

The study of dreams can tell us much about how consciousness works. For example, comparing how waking and dreaming experiences are similar and different casts light upon the constructivist/top-down/endogenous and ecological/bottom-up/exogenous determinants of the contents of consciousness. Likewise, dreams are clearly relevant to a major focus of the conference: stimulus-independent thought. In order to study dreams optimally, it is necessary to do so with the mindfulness and cognitive clarity afforded by lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is a learnable skill that can be developed through training in dream recall, concentration, and prospective memory. The frequency of lucid dreaming can also be increased by a variety of other methods to be reviewed in the workshop, including pre-sleep pharmacological and behavioral manipulations; sleep-cycle interruption; and lucidity cueing by meaningful sensory stimuli applied during REM sleep. This workshop will present an overview of scientific research on the theory and practice of lucid dreaming. Participants will learn techniques for inducing, stabilizing, and controlling lucid dreams, and how to use them for the exploration and development of consciousness. The program will include demonstrations of technology to assist lucid dream induction. We will also explore the relationship between lucid dreaming and consciousness in dream yoga, non-lucid dreams, out-of-body experiences, virtual reality world simulations, and waking life.
Stephen LaBerge received his Ph.D in Psychophysiology in 1980 from Stanford University where he researched consciousness, dreaming and waking, for 25 years. He has taught courses on sleep and dreaming, psychobiology, and altered states of consciousness at Stanford University, the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, and San Francisco State University. In addition to his scientific writings on lucid dreaming he has published several influential popular books on the topic which have been translated into more than 20 languages.