Can anyone perceive questions and provide answers in the midst of a vivid dream? It is possible, say researchers.
The findings indicate that it is possible for people while dreaming to follow instructions, do simple math, answer yes-or-no questions, or tell the difference between different sensory stimuli.
“We found that individuals in REM sleep can interact with an experimenter and engage in real-time communication,” said researcher Ken Paller from the Northwestern University in the US.
According to the researcher, dreamers are capable of comprehending questions, engaging in working-memory operations and producing answers.
“Most people might predict that this would not be possible — that people would either wake up when asked a question or fail to answer, and certainly not comprehend a question without misconstruing it,” Paller said.
For the study, published in the journal Current Biology, the researchers evaluated 36 people who aimed to have a lucid dream, in which a person is aware they’re dreaming.
The team said that people in dreams could respond using eye movements or by contracting facial muscles.
The researchers refer to it as “interactive dreaming.”
The researchers said that future studies of dreaming could use these same methods to assess cognitive abilities during dreams versus wake.
Outside of the laboratory, the methods could be used to help people in various ways, such as solving problems during sleep or offering nightmare sufferers novel ways to cope, the team noted.