This article by Michelle Carr is very interesting: Nightmares becalmed: I’m a dream engineer. Through touch, scent and sound, we help people rescript the dramas of their sleeping lives
To influence dreams, dream engineers need to understand the processes that shape dream content. For a long while, a conventional view was that dreaming is a simulation of waking life generated purely by brain activity. However, evidence is mounting that the rest of the body also contributes to dream generation, which has huge implications for dream engineers seeking ways to shape dreams.
For instance, consider a recent study of lucid dreamers by the neurologist Isabelle Arnulf and her team at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris. Arnulf and her colleagues asked their lucid dreamers to hold their breath within their dream, and found that, as they did so, there was actually a cessation of airflow in the real sleeping body, as measured by a sensor placed in the nostrils. This provides evidence that, at least in lucid dreamers, the physical body is manifesting dream content in real time. There’s also a correspondence between the body and more emotional dream content. Another of Arnulf’s recent studies suggests that a person’s expressions during sleep, such as whether they are smiling or laughing, correspond to the emotional content of their dreams…
Newer approaches to dream engineering go even further than lucid dreaming therapy in attempting to interact with dreams as they occur. They exploit the fact that the dreaming mind can be thought of as being in a circuitry with the physical body during sleep. This means that we can use the physical body as a permeable barrier to interface with the dreaming mind, for example by applying sensory stimulation to influence subjective experience during sleep…
Another dream-engineering approach that uses spoken prompts to direct dreams is Dormio, a glove-like wearable device that’s designed to detect sleep onset via sensors that measure muscle flexion, heart rate and electrical dermal activity. When it detects sleep onset, Dormio gives an auditory prompt to influence what you dream about in the hypnagogic state – the initial state between wakefulness and sleep-onset, during which people are particularly receptive to suggestion.
In a recent study showing how it might be possible to exploit the hypnagogic state for dream engineering, Adam Haar Horowitz and his colleagues at MIT programmed Dormio to prompt dreamers to ‘think of a tree’ just after they drifted off. Each time the researchers did this, they woke their volunteers and asked them to describe their dream, to see if the prompt had worked. The researchers saw that, over time, with each successive dream incubation, the hypnagogic images started to become more creative and dreamlike:
Awakening 1: Trees, many different kinds, pines, oaks.
Awakening 3: A tree from my childhood, from my backyard. It never asked for anything.
Awakening 5: I’m in the desert, there is a shaman, sitting under the tree with me, he tells me to go to South America…
Here is a link to Michelle Carr’s website (contains contact information)
And a link to her Twitter account (she and I are mutuals)
NOTE: in another Night Club thread – A Bunch of Lucid / “Dream Engineering” papers available – I linked to a Twitter thread by Carr in which she lists a bunch of papers on dream engineering.