Electric Shock May Enable Humans to Control Dreams

August 2, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. light /laɪt/ (adj.) – referring to something that has little weight or amount
Example:  She always brings a light baggage whenever she travels.

2. lucid /ˈlu sɪd/ (adj.) – being clear and easily understood
Example: The speaker’s voice was firm and lucid.

3. overlap / vərˈlæp/ (v.) – to extend to an area covered by something
Example: Our club activities should not overlap with our class schedule.

4. consciousness /ˈkɒnʃəs nɪs/ (n.) –  the state of being awake or being aware of what is happening       
Example: She regained consciousness after a month of hospitalization.

5. outcome /ˈaʊtˌkʌm/ (n.) – the result of something
Example: We must wait for the outcome of their conversation before we take action.


Read the text below.
A new study suggests that controlling one’s dreams is now possible, with the help of light electric shocks.

Published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the study was conducted by researchers from Goethe [GUR-tuh] University Frankfurt and the University of Goettingen [gœt-ing-uh n]. They found that lucid dreams can be induced by using specific electric frequency.

Lucid dreaming is a phenomenon in which two states of consciousness overlap. It is a type of dream that allows a person to be aware that he or she is dreaming. Lucid dreaming is often accompanied by lower gamma frequency band, which is typically absent during normal dreaming. However, it is not clear which one causes the other: the dream or the brain wave activity.

Twenty seven non-lucid dreamers participated in the study. The researchers placed electrodes on the scalps of the participants to recreate the gamma wave activity in lucid dreamers. They applied a certain amount of current to the participants, ranging from two hertz to 100 hertz, after the participants had reached the dreaming stage. The researchers then woke the participants up and asked about their dreams.

Results showed that the brain’s gamma wave activity increased when given 40 hertz and 25 hertz, during which lucid dreaming occurred.

According to the researchers, the outcome of the study would help them to fully understand human consciousness. Moreover, the study can be helpful in discovering treatments for mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If given the chance, would you also try the method mentioned in the article to control your dreams? Why or why not?
·         What kind of dreams would you like to have and control?

Discussion B

·         Do you think dreams can help health practitioners treat people with mental illnesses? Why or why not?
·         What do you think is the importance of dreams to humans?

August 2, 2014