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 –