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Study Suggests Gaming Promotes Lucid Dreaming

Study Suggests Gaming Promotes Lucid Dreaming

February 21, 2005 | By David Jenkins

February 21, 2005 | By David Jenkins
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Jayne Gackenbach, a professor of psychology and sociology at Grant MacEwan College, Canada has completed research which claims that video games alter the way the brain works. Gackenbach has been researching dreams for almost 30 years, and in 1997 she polled a group of her students on the effects gaming had on their dreams, with inconclusive results.

In 2004 she repeated the poll and found that frequent video game players have more "lucid dreams" (in which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming) than non-gamers. Often, the dreamer can even manipulate the action or observe it in third-person, much like a video game.

"On an intuitive level, it makes sense," said Gackenbach."If you're spending a lot of time in a changeable virtual environment, it acts as a sort of practice for another virtual reality, dreams."

Gackenbach's research suggests the effects of video games on minds are much more complex. She even goes as far to suggest that video gaming may share some traits with deep meditation, in that both immerse the mind in a singular, deeply focused activity.

"Video games are changing how people's brains work, how they are wired," she said.

Interestingly, anecdotal evidence within gaming fandom usually cites early 90s titles such as Tetris and Doom as the most likely to inspire a dream, although not necessarily the lucid dreams described by Gackenbach.


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