Seeking Roots of Consciousness, Scientists Make Dreamers Self-Aware

A method to create lucid dreaming may help researchers learn more about the brain. Researchers have figured out how to make people aware of themselves during a dream: by zapping their sleeping brains with a weak electric current. The sensation of "Hey, this is a dream!" is known as lucid dreaming.
Those who naturally become lucid while dreaming, probably a small segment of the population, also report adventures that are impossible in the real world, such as flying, that feel completely real. Some can even change a dream’s narrative twists and turns to make it less scary, or even more exhilarating. (Related: "Why Do We Dream? To Ease Painful Memories, Study Hints.")
Lucid dreaming is exciting not only for dreamers but also for neuroscientists, who consider it a window into the study of consciousness. But until now, researchers have been hampered by how hard it is to provoke lucid dreaming in people who don’t do it naturally. A new method published today in Nature Neuroscience might get around this difficulty, making it easier to stimulate lucid dreaming at will.