Lucid Dreaming Research 2 – Lucid Dreaming as a Learnable Skill: A Case Study

Lucid dreaming research summary on a case study that wanted to see if it’s possible to learn how to lucid dream.

  • Published: 2020-07-23
  • Updated: 2020-11-18
  • 3 min read
Paper Title: Lucid Dreaming as a Learnable Skill: A Case Study
Authors: Stephen LaBerge
Published: 1980
DOI: 10.2466/pms.1980.51.3f.1039

Introduction

Lucid dreaming as a learnable skill is a study that was done to investigate the feasibility of learning how to lucid dream. It was a three year long investigation, in which the author, Stephen LaBerge, tried developing the skill of initiating intentional lucid dreams.

Background

Over the course of the three years, LaBerge recorded a total of 389 lucid dreams. For several years prior to the investigation, the author had experienced on average, less than one lucid dream per month.

Phase 1 (First 16 Months)

During the first phase of the study (first 16 months), the method used to induct lucid dreams was autosuggestion. Using this technique, he managed to have an average of 5.4 (ranging from 1 – 13) lucid dreams per month. By the end of the first phase, the author discovered two psychological factors that played a role in the amount of lucid dreams experienced. The first factor is motivation, the more motivated he was, the more lucid dreams he had. The second factor is the pre-sleep intention to remember to become lucid in your dreams, which also made it more likely to experience lucidity.

Phase 2 (Months 16-30)

The realization and implementation of the second factor (pre-sleep intention to remember to become lucid), had led to a sudden increase in the frequency of lucid dreams each month. This was the start of phase 2 (months 17-30) of the study. By the end of the second phase, LaBerge had developed the mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD), a technique to reliably induce lucid dreams. By using MILD, an average of 21.5 (ranging from 18 – 26) lucid dreams per month were reported.

Phase 3 & 4 (Months 31-36)

During the third phase of the study (months 31 – 34), the practice of MILD was discontinued for a period of four months. And the last two months and final phase of the study (months 35-36), the subject had regained the average frequency of lucid dreams he had before the previous four months of discontinued practice.

Results Visualized

The graph below shows the number of lucid dreams experienced each month throughout the three year period (divided into four phases). During the 8th and 10th month (marked with A and B), the author reported having higher levels of motivation, which resulted in two to three times more lucid dreams than the other months in the first phase. On the 29th month (marked with C), LaBerge developed MILD.

Conclusion

The study shows that lucid dreaming is a skill that can be developed through the practice of certain induction techniques. It also shows that, while autosuggestion can be used to reliably induce lucid dreams (average of 5.4 per month), the mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD) technique is significantly more likely to produce lucidity (average of 21.5 per month).

Footnotes
  1. LaBerge, S. P. (1980). Lucid Dreaming as a Learnable Skill: A Case Study. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 51(3_suppl2), 1039–1042. https://doi.org/10.2466/pms.1980.51.3f.1039