Stephen LaBerge: Lucid Dreaming

12 July 2019, 19.00h, Donders Institute

In the course of everyday life, we rarely reflect on our global reality orientation and state of consciousness. Even less do we question whether we are awake or not. Not even as day spins into night, and we wander through our dreams, curiouser and curiouser, still we do not wonder why. Unless we do. “Except lucid dreaming.”

This is, of course, the well-known and highly significant exception to the rule of endless spin: During what are commonly called “lucid dreams”, we take explicit note of our state of consciousness as dreaming. During such cognizant dreams, experienced lucid dreamers can reason rationally, remember relevant circumstances of waking life, and act voluntarily within the dream upon reflection or in accordance with plans decided upon before sleep‚—all while remaining soundly asleep, vividly experiencing a dream world that can appear astonishingly real. This all obviously contradicts the persistent misconception of (non-lucid) dreams as necessarily lacking reflection, attentional control, true volition, etc.

When I first started my doctoral research at Stanford some 40 years ago lucid dreaming wasn’t just controversial; it was simply impossible. By the time I received my PhD, (1980) I had proven the impossible dream real. First I had to learn to have lucid dreams at will. Next all I had to do was mark the time I became lucid by a series of voluntary eye-movements (LRLR). The signals and thus lucid dreams occured during unequivocal REM sleep. QED. Incidentally, the broader significance of this Signal Verified Lucid Dreaming (SVLD) technique is often overlooked: for the first time, ever, dreams can be reported as they happen, — in real time.

Forty Years in Forty Minutes:
What we know now and still don’t know
And what we know that just ain’t so…



Stephen LaBerge received his Ph.D. in Psychophysiology from Stanford University (1980). As a Research Associate in the Stanford University Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology he was engaged in laboratory research for 25 years, pioneering the field of lucid dreaming. He is the author of Lucid Dreaming and Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming, and a co-founder of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD).


This keynote serves as the introductory lecture for the weekend symposium Metacognition night and day: lucid dreaming, mind wandering and mindfulness. Further information:

Donders Institute
Kapittelweg 29
6525 EN Nijmegen

Attendence is free, but please register via

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close