Thursday, July 5, 2012
How Rare is Lucid Dreaming?
As I got older and discovered that there was a more concise term for "dreams where I knew I was dreaming" I read that this was a rare ability. Perhaps you've read that, too. In one way, it's a bit thrilling to be able to have a skill that most people don't. In the 1980s, it was generally thought that only 20% of the population could dream lucidly. At least, that's what Stephen LaBerge says.
Well, time for us to get down off of our high horses. Lucid dreaming is a lot more common than was previously thought. In the 1980s, you could not get funding for dream research. Now scientists and doctors are getting far more money to study dreaming. It seems that at least half and perhaps as many as three-quarters of the human population will have at least one lucid dream in their lives.
Of course, participants in dream studies are on the honor system. It's not as if scientists can double-check what they were actually dreaming to what people say that they are dreaming. Usually in these studies, people are given questionnaires, fill them out and send them to the researchers. With the rise of interest in lucid dreaming since the 1990s, the concept has become more mainstream. It could be that people never had a lucid dream until they read about someone having one, stored this tidbit in their subconscious and then -- wala -- out pops a lucid dream.
So, what's the point about how many people can dream lucidly? It's not how many people that can do it that matters, it's that lucid dreaming can be done by nearly anyone. If you do happen to read somewhere that lucid dreaming is a rare skill, don't let that stop you from trying. After all, they're your dreams -- not anyone else's.
Well -- not until a study comes out claiming otherwise, that is.
Detail of The Procession of the Trojan Horse in Troy by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo from Wikimedia Commons