Can someone please hook me up to one of these babies and zap my brain so I can finally experience this?
Scientists have previously noticed that lucid dreamers had activity around 40Hz in the frontotemporal section of the brain. To test whether this activity was correlative or causative, they zapped the brain of various volunteers with alternating currents of various frequencies. They found that in at frequencies of 25 to 40Hz, up to 77% of volunteers reported lucid dreaming. Control volunteers that were hooked up but not zapped reported no lucid dreams. Volunteers that were stimulated with lower or higher frequencies reported fewer or no lucid dreams. This suggests that a narrow frequency is required to allow the brain to experience lucid dreams.
I love the example dream accounts in their methods:
Example of lucid dream report following 40-Hz stimulation.
I was dreaming about lemon cake. It looked translucent, but then again, it didn't. It was a bit like in an animated movie, like the Simpsons. And then I started falling and the scenery changed and I was talking to Matthias Schweighöfer (a German actor) and 2 foreign exchange students. And I was wondering about the actor and they told me "yes, you met him before," so then I realized "oops, you are dreaming." I mean, while I was dreaming! So strange!
Example of a non-lucid dream report (6 Hz).
I am driving in my car, for a long time. Then I arrive at this place where I haven't been before. And there are a lot of people there. I think maybe I know some of them but they are all in a bad mood so I go to a separate room, all by myself.
Example of a non-lucid dream (12 Hz).
It was about shopping. I bought these shoes and then there was such a girl, she went–like–"snap" (snaps her fingers) and cut off her waist, just like that. Interviewer: she cut off her waist? Subject: yeah, just like that.
12 Hz person, I am kinda worried about you.
The authors note that this could be useful for treating people suffering from schizophrenia, OCD or PTSD. And if they ever turn this into a layman's machine for lucid dreaming, I would hella be all over it.