I’ve only had a couple lucid dreams myself.
People who realise they are in a dream while they are dreaming — a lucid dream — have better problem-solving abilities, new research finds.
This may be because the ability to step outside a dream after noticing it doesn’t make sense reflects a higher level of insight.
Around 82% of people are thought to have experienced a lucid dream in their life, while the number experiencing a lucid dream at least once a month may be as high as 37%.
Flash of insight
The study, published in the journal Dreaming, recruited participants into three groups (Bourke & Shaw, 2014):
- Frequent lucid dreamers: those who experienced a lucid dream more than once a month.
- Occasional lucid dreamers: those who had had a lucid dream at least once in their lives.
- Non-lucid dreamers: those who had never experienced a lucid dream.
All the participants were given a test of problem-solving which required a flash of insight.
Each problem was made up of three words which led to another word or phrase.
For example, one problem gives you the words ‘mile’, ‘sand’ and ‘age’.
What other single word can be combined with all three to create three new words or phrases?
The answer is ‘stone’, which can be combined with the three words to produce ‘milestone’, ‘sandstone’ and ‘Stone Age’.
The results showed that in comparison to those who had never had a lucid dream, the frequent lucid dreamers solved 25% more of these insight problems.