“Embodied Dreaming and the Future of Dream Engineering” (Michelle Carr – Seminar 4)
For this Threshold Worlds Seminar, Michelle Carr (University of Rochester) will guide us through recent developments in the technology of dream engineering.
Dream engineering seeks to apply techniques or technologies for influencing or recording dreams, to benefit memory, creativity, emotional or physical well-being. In order to engineer dreams, we first need to have some understanding of the process of dream generation. In this presentation, I will review the circuitry between the sleeping body and the dreaming mind, and argue for a causal role of body sensation in dream generation. Taking advantage of this circuitry allows us to interface with the dreaming mind via the body. Prior research has found that presenting sensory stimulation during sleep can influence dream content; for instance, exposure to a pleasant scent during sleep can boost positive dream emotion. Recent developments in the field of dream engineering include new applications of wearable and Virtual Reality technologies for dream content incubation, and novel sensory stimulation protocols for targeted dream direction or lucid dream induction. I will discuss these and possible future developments in dream engineering, and finally some of the ethical considerations of this burgeoning field.