Can Lucid Dreaming Improve Physical Skills?

Lucid dreaming can improve their performance in real life, according to Yale researcher Peter Morgan. In lucid dreaming, the dreamer is self-aware and is in control of the substance of the dream.

Researchers from Yale University found that lucid dreamers perform better in a gambling task, designed to test a part of the brain important to emotional decision-making and social interactions, said a report in New Scientist this week.

Peter Morgan at Yale University and colleagues think that this region can be trained.

Morgan and his team are working on how to train people using dreams. Morgan hopes to be able to improve a person's social control and decision-making abilities.

'We know that by engaging circuits in the brain we can change its architecture,' he says.

It's already been proven that people who practice tasks in dreams can be better at them in real life. One Swiss study, led by Daniel Erlacher of the University of Bern, showed that lucid dreamers who 'practiced throwing a coin into a cup were better at the real thing when they woke up.

Movie fans have recently been treated to a version of this idea in the recent film Inception, which allows experts to contribute portions of a dream to a collective experience.

(Inception movie trailer)

SF authors have also written about the uses of lucid dreaming. In the 2007 anime Paprika, a researcher creates a device called a DC Mini that allows a therapist to enter the dreams of a patient.

Roger Zelazny worked with a similar idea in his 1966 novel The Dream Master; therapists could actually structure dreams for clients using the dream console

The idea that dreaming about performing a simple physical action could result in improved performance is intriguing. In the comments to last week's article DecNef: Download Skills Into Your Brain, reader Peter Jacobs pointed out that "muscle memory" developed through real-world physical training is an important part of learning. Could lucid dreaming actually develop neural pathways essential to better performance?

Via the Daily Mail; thanks to Moira for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/22/2011)

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