Manipulating Dreams

In a recent TED TALK, neuro-scientist, Moran Cerf tells us that, “Our sleeping brains retain some of the content we encounter when we’re awake and that our dreams can influence our waking actions.” It was suggested that based on new evidence, we have been given a new tool to control our dreams.

Research is still ongoing regarding manipulating dreams and I can’t help but think this could be a highly controversial subject. After all, memories are malleable and therefore they can be altered when in the dream state. But, manipulated in which way? That said, there is much good that can be accomplished.

As an example, this scientist has worked with people who have experienced trauma and who have developed PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) due to their haunting memories. He speaks of ameliorating a condition for a soldier who had come back from Iraq with PTSD. When the soldier was in the dream state on consecutive nights, sounds of gunfire were triggered and then immediately followed by the spraying of a very pleasant aroma. The aroma was used to create positive changes in the soldier’s brain and slowly began affected memories of the trauma. In a sense, the aromas were overriding the remembrance of the terrible incident. Even after a few nights of treatment, the soldier felt less anxious.

As Mr. Cerf explains, the jump now is to help other people. He extends the idea to being able to teach people useful skills in their dream state or navigating to a specific location where information can be picked up. How about learning the periodic table if you could put that to good use in your every-day life? The possibilities are endless.

Apparently, this is the first time that scientists have discovered that behavior can be changed in the dream state. Neuro-science has given us a new platform to create experiences.


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