Ken Paller: Lucid Dreaming, Memory, and Sleep

Brain Inspired Podcast, April 15, 2022

Ken discusses the recent work in his lab that allows communication with subjects while they experience lucid dreams. This new paradigm opens many avenues to study the neuroscience and psychology of consciousness, sleep, dreams, memory, and learning, and to improve and optimize sleep for cognition.

The Show About Science

Jan 15, 2029

“Do House-Elves Clean Your Brain While You Sleep?” That’s the title of an exciting new article featured in Frontiers for Young Minds by Ken Paller. Ken is a professor at Northwestern University where he designs experiments that can provide insights into memory and our conscious experiences. On this episode, he visits The Show About Science Studios to talk about his article, cognitive neuroscience, memory, and how sleep affects our brains.

Real-Time Dialogue with Dreamers: An Exploration of Communication During REM Sleep

Lucid dreaming is complex and remains a mystery to many neurologists, but emerging research suggests we may be able to communicate with dreamers in REM sleep. Dr. Andrew Wilner is joined by Dr. Ken Paller, Northwestern University’s Director of the Cognitive Neuroscience program and the training program in the Neuroscience of Human Cognition, to discuss his recent research on communicating with lucid dreamers.

ReachMD

Some Skill Sleep Learning May Work

Scientific American Podcast, June 25, 2012

Lucid dreaming is complex and remains a mystery to many neurologists, but emerging research suggests we may be able to communicate with dreamers in REM sleep. Dr. Andrew Wilner is joined by Dr. Ken Paller, Northwestern University’s Director of the Cognitive Neuroscience program and the training program in the Neuroscience of Human Cognition, to discuss his recent research on communicating with lucid dreamers.

Sounds During Sleep May Help You Remember

NPR: All Things Considered, November 19, 2009

You may not be able to learn a foreign language in your sleep, but you can strengthen certain memories, according to a study in the journal Science.

Scientists asked lucid dreamers math questions. Some answered.

CBC Radio, March 5, 2021

Scientists recently took advantage of the fascinating phenomenon of lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming occurs when you become consciously aware that you’re in a dream. Chris Mizurik is one of 36 dreamers in the United States and Europe who took part in four interactive dreaming studies. Without waking or coming out of the dream, he was able to communicate back.Dr. Ken Paller, director of the cognitive neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago, says dreams could relate to this memory processing, and the creativity that helps you solve problems once you’re awake.

Scientists have discovered how to break into people’s dreams and leave them mess

CHQR/Afternoons with Rob Breakenridge, Feb. 23, 2021

Lucid dreaming is defined as having a dream and knowing at that moment that it’s a dream. About half of the people surveyed have had a lucid dream at least one time in their life. What does it tell us about our brains and our perception of being asleep versus being awake?
Could we communicate with lucid dreamers using words, but softly, so we don’t wake them up? Could we find out about a dream at the moment it’s happening from people? How did you design this?
New research out of the US. Finds that real time dialogue with a dreaming person is possible. Joining us to talk more about the research is Ken Powell,professor of psychology at Northwestern University.

Research suggests sleepers can communicate in real time as they dream

WBBM Newsradio, February 22, 2021 

Ken Paller, director of the Cognitive neuroscience program at Northwestern University, says a simple code of using left right eye movements allows a lucid dreamer to answer math problems and simple yes or no questions. Are you dreaming in color? Are you underwater? Are you flying? Pallor says that what the eyes do in dreams manifest physically, making them a good source for observing a dreamer’s responses. They can’t speak back to us, but they can move their eyes.
And when you move your eyes in your dream body, your actual eyes are moving as well. Other studies have focused on muscle twitch and sniff responses, with some even attempt more complex conversation through Morse code. Paller says we may eventually be able to reverse engineer real time dream events to identify prior trauma that may be causing waking life effects, such as anxiety disorders or depression.

Research Shows Real-Time Communication With Lucid Dreamers Is Possible. What Can We Learn From It?

AIRTALK/89.3 FM/ Los Angeles, February 22, 2021

Why do we sleep and why we dream. What relevance does it have for our waking activity, such as our memory function? What is lucid dreaming, and can it be tracked and even taught as a skill?
Studies out of Northwestern University find lucid dreamers can communicate with researchers, even in a state of ideep sleep. Though the majority of people don’t understand they’re dreaming, says Northwestern University Professor Ken Paller, his research aims to make lucid dreams more easy for people to achieve, and to perhaps increase its positive influence in our waking lives.

Sleeping cements memories

The Naked Scientists podcast, Nov 1, 2022

People often say that when you’ve got a tough decision to make you should sleep on it. A good night’s sleep seems to be critical for processing information and organising the facts in your mind. Indeed, experiments have repeatedly suggested that people perform better at recalling newly-learned things when they’ve had a chance to sleep in the interim. But is that better performance just because they’re fresh, or is the sleep doing something special to the memory? One way to find out is to record what the brain is doing while we sleep, and this week scientists have reported on how a unique opportunity presented itself to a team at Northwestern University who were able to study patients who had electrodes implanted into their brains to study their epilepsy but it also meant that they Ken Paller could eavesdrop on how newly-formed memories were altering as they slept…

Sleeping cements memories

The Naked Scientists podcast, Nov 1, 2022

People often say that when you’ve got a tough decision to make you should sleep on it. A good night’s sleep seems to be critical for processing information and organising the facts in your mind. Indeed, experiments have repeatedly suggested that people perform better at recalling newly-learned things when they’ve had a chance to sleep in the interim. But is that better performance just because they’re fresh, or is the sleep doing something special to the memory? One way to find out is to record what the brain is doing while we sleep, and this week scientists have reported on how a unique opportunity presented itself to a team at Northwestern University who were able to study patients who had electrodes implanted into their brains to study their epilepsy but it also meant that they Ken Paller could eavesdrop on how newly-formed memories were altering as they slept…

Some Sleep Learning May Work

Scientific American’s Sixty Second Science, June 25, 2012

Hearing material while sleeping that you’ve already learned may improve sensorimotor skills related to the execution of the material. Christopher Intagliata reports

Some Sleep Learning May Work

NPR Short Wave Science, November 19, 2009

A new study in the journal Science suggests that while it may not be possible to learn something completely new while sleeping, it may be possible to strengthen memories of things that have already been learned. Sleep has long been known to help the brain process memories, and the study found that hearing sound cues while in deep sleep could enhance memories of associated images.

Biological Basis for False Memories Revealed

NPR Consider This, October 23, 2004It’s easy enough to forget something that happened. It’s also possible to remember something that didn’t happen. Researchers have used magnetic resonance imaging of the brain to record what happens when someone retrieves a real memory — and what happens when that same person conjures up an imagined or “false memory.”As NPR’s Michelle Trudeau reports, the study found that the parts of the brain used to perceive a real object overlap with those used to imagine that object. Because of this overlap, brain imaging is unlikely at this point to be useful in determining who is remembering accurately and who is remembering a false memory.

Science Plumbs Memory’s Faults

NPR Short Wave Science, February 9, 2005This week defrocked priest Paul Shanley was convicted of child rape, after the victim testified about memories of the abuse that he recalled only after seeing news reports about Shanley. The trial focused on those memories’ reliability, but evidence is growing that nearly all memories distort the truth.