Posted on June 21st, 2010 No comments
Video Game Players Currently or Formerly in the Military
Researchers at Grant MacEwan University have been investigating the effects of video game play on various elements of consciousness. They have found that gamers have empowering dreams and experience the “reality” of the virtual worlds of gaming in unique ways. This research has also linked feelings of deep absorption and flow to gaming.
All of these provocative and positive findings are being further examined by this research group. You can find out more by contacting (email@example.com). Or you can sign on at:
If you qualify, this research consists of six questionnaires asking about your general demographics, your video game playing history, your personality, your history of trauma, two of your dreams, and the impact of one of the dreams on you. It will take about 1 ½ hours to complete.
You must be 18 years of age or older to participate in this research. Any questions can be directed to the lead researcher Dr. Jayne Gackenbach, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on June 18th, 2010 No comments
That the active brain creates phasic REM idea nicely supports our research on gaming and lucid dreaming. Gaming, which is very active mentally, before sleep might then create a more active brain in sleep. This is very broad and vague, I know but that’s the beauty of a blog I can say such vague things and basically think… I would add bizarre dreams of meditators and creativity in meditators we have also found with gamers – Now does that make lucid dreams any less potentially spiritual or enlightening (in the sense of waking up), NO – I think a case can be made that some forms of gaming can be viewed as a type of meditative practice (especially the aborbed attention and the flow experiences of gamers) and indeed there is now a set of fascinating work looking at the stress reduction of casual game play on various measures – additionally the most recent issue of The Review of General Psychology is devoted to the positive outcomes associated with video game play with two articles heavily critiquing the quick to assume violence affects – they happen but are specific to some individuals – I understand that people are quick to reject the idea that games might be good for you (of course there are problems with excessive play) no less the idea that it could be a fairly simple meditative type practice but I think a case is increasingly being made.
I think what is important here is that lucid dreamers, meditators and video game players, among other activities, which for instance could include shamanic journeying, learn to move in “imaginal spaces” or virtual realities – the advantage of gaming here is obvious, and pointed out by Joan Preston, a VR researcher, that VR allows experiences of high absorption not normally available to individuals who do not have this skill.
An often argued point in the dream studies literature argues that “ many lucid dreamers attempt to avoid a dream’s message by attempting to control the dream . Instead of facing the issue presented in the dream, the lucid dreamer runs off on an adventure, such as flying into the sky, dominating other dream characters, or having sex with a dream companion.” I have long agreed with this perspective BUT my work with gamers and dream control has shown me a different blush on it – they have rehearsed so much during the day during game play how to fight an enemy that when confronted with threat in sleep they automatically fight back – now is that psychologically healthy is another question, it is very similar to the various dream rehearsal techniques to deal with nightmares from trauma – it’s a difficult and tricky question.
Posted on June 9th, 2010 No comments
An insightful reporter from Brazil just sent these questions to me to answer for an article he is writing and I thought I would post my answers as they are ones I often get and sometimes in the writing itself things come together, which did in this case for me. Here are his questions and my answers:
1 – When did you become interested in video games as a subject for study?
when I bought my son a Nintendo game console in the early 1990′s – when I saw how passionate he was about gaming I started to read the research into gaming and saw that gamers developed better spatial skills (can imagine an engine and where the knock is, or don’t get lost in the city or the woods, or can mentally rotate objects) – I had been studying lucid dreams for many years at that point and spatial skills was one of my major findings – that is lucid dreamers has superior spatial skills – so I wondered if gamers had more lucid dreams – so by the late 1990′s I slowly began this research and really got going by 2004
2 – Did you start to play video games after the research? How would you
describe your relationship with this kind of media?
well i was playing with my kids on our computer and when I got my son a console i would play with him for years until he got so good that even giving me 10 extra lives he still beat me so badly that I got boring to play with – i continue to play but i play casual games most of the time – I enjoy games and sometimes wish I had the time to get really involved in some online role playing game – mostly I use games to relax and that works very well for me – I do game every day for an hour or more but it’s in the evening when i’m too tired to work or don’t have other committments – i’m a pretty much stay at home kind of woman so gaming helps me slow down from the activities of the day
3 – You’ve done a lot of research on this subject. What can we “definitely”
say at the time? Do gamers have more control over dreams?
dream control is one of the strongest findings we have come to in our research laboratory – that should be qualified – first you can control your dreams without gaming it’s just rarer and harder to come to – gaming allows practice in controlling an alternative (nonreal) world like dreams – thus by the time you get to a dream and a familiar, game like, circumstance emerges it’s no surprise that gamers take control especially if it’s a threatening situation – dream control is often linked to lucid dreaming and if you know you are in a dream while the dream is ongoing you can opt to control but you do not have to be lucid to control a dream
4 – Is there a particular game genre that can be more “effective” when
related to dreams?
well anything you do a lot during the day will show up in your dreams and especially if it is emotionally impactful – so games that draw strong emotions from players I would expect to show up in dreams more often and the effects, like dream control to be there, also games that take a lot of focused attention (like first person games – driving or shooting) would be more likely to result in lucid/control type dreams – we are only now beginning to look at genre and results in dreams – our original research did not find any genre differences but lately we are seeing it and are in the process of investigating this component
5 – In all of these years collecting stories, have you found some unusual
testimonial or something that really has got your attention?
o’shoot yes – one of the most remarkable ones was from a long time gamer who had gamed for about 6 hours the day before this dream – in the dream he was in a car which exploded and was on fire – he was in the 3rd person perspective during the dream so he watched himself in the car as this unfolded – as he was getting out of the car to escape he thought to himself “I wonder what it’s like to burn alive?” – he (the inside and outside dream self) decided to stay in the car and watched himself burn to death – he said he felt no pain – the control is evident in that he was deciding to leave the car and then decided to stay in their to have this unusual experience – the 3rd person perspective evidenced here is like that of witnessing spoken of in the meditative traditions
there are many more examples
6 – What are you aiming for in your future research?
there is a list of ongoing projects under the laboratory tab
7 – “Do these preliminary results imply that lucid/control dreaming will
become widespread given the saturation of media?” – it is a very interesting
question from one of your own articles. Is it possible to have an answer or
is it too soon?
well maybe – there are lots of qualifiers -
Posted on June 1st, 2010 2 comments
This is a very interesting letter I just got from a long time gamer explicating how he sees the connections between his gaming and dreams. I was impressed by his insight and especially the point about if too like the real world it gets harder – i’d really like to hear from gamer readers if their experiences echo this young man’s:
I’ve been able to control my dreams at a very young age (around 8 years old) and I was never able to explain people how it worked. My brother had very bad nightmares (he his younger than me) and he was the only one in my family (except from me) to be able to control his dreams. I’ve often wondered why the two of us were different than the others but I had never thought of what you are suggesting: we are both the only gamers in the family.
The two of us were exposed to videogames around 3 years before developing the ability to control our dreams.
As mentioned in this article, the only way that we were able to modify the dream world was by controlling our dream avatar. I tried for the past 25 years to control the dream environment without using my avatar without success. The only thing that I’ve been able to achieve was to summon any kind of objects in my hands. I guess that the fact that most of them were weapons can be explained by the influence of video games.
Another interesting part of the article mentions the ability to withstand higher levels of aggression and fear. Unlike the potential war veterans that could join your study in the future, I had to opportunity to control my dreams prior to some events that could have been traumatizing. As a student, I was working in a grocery store and we got robbed a few times. Twice I had a gun pointed at my head at very close range. Many of the employees were in a state of shock after the incidents (even if they were less involved than I was) but I wasn’t. Maybe all that exposure to video games and being able to control my dreams and confront nightmares actually helped me to get through a very difficult situation without trauma.
All of this makes me think of something else. What if we were able to create video games where we do stuff that doesn’t necessarily involve fighting nightmares. It could be very interesting if we could gain control over our dreams to increase our awareness to other things, or to enhance the way that we learn new abilities.
One problem that I have with that is that the more realistic the dream is, the hardest it is for me to gain control over the dream. If I dream about myself sitting in a classroom doing some mathematics, I’m going to struggle much more to gain control over what is happening than if I’m just fighting monsters.
Thanks a lot for giving me more answers about what is happening and more importantly on how it is happening.