Vestibular stimulation, VR and high-density sleep EEG for lucid dream induction
Every night our brains simulate a highly convincing thought often bizarre dream reality. In the rare case of lucid dreaming, the dreamer becomes aware of the ongoing state of mind without waking up. The main obstacle to both its scientific investigation and clinical application is its rarity: only few people have lucid dreams on a regular basis. Several strategies to increase lucid dreaming frequency exist, how-ever none induces lucid dreams with high reliability.
In this project, we aim for an embodied approach to lucid dream induction, focusing in particular on the vestibular system, inducing dreams of falling and potentially flying by galvanic vestibular stimulation during REM sleep. We will then train participants to associate such vestibular experience during wakefulness with the metacognitive thought “This is a dream!”, which we in turn aim to reactivate during sleep, thus eliciting full-blown lucid dreams. We will combine this strategy with virtual reality scenarios of flying/falling experiences, thus developing a highly immersive training environment for effective lucid dream induction. With a combined EEG-VR approach, we will further elucidate the neural correlates of metacognitive introspection, as well as vestibular experiences, during both wakefulness and sleep, levering machine learning strategies to compare between the two states.
As a whole, the project will allow for novel insights into embodied dream experiences on both a cognitive and neural level, will develop a potentially highly effective new lucid dreaming induction strategy ‘on button press’, and will thus pave the way for applications in research, clinical practice, sports, and everyday life.
Tasks and responsibilities:
- Plan, coordinate, perform, and analyze a research project using vestibular stimulation, virtual reality and HD-EEG for lucid dream induction
- Prepare and write publications on the basis of open science practices
- Supervise a PhD student dedicated to the project and more junior staff
- Enjoy collaborative work in an interdisciplinary team of international scientists
The ideal candidate will have:
- a PhD and strong methods skills in cognitive neuroscience, computer science, engineering, biomedical sciences, psychology, or in a related field
- strong statistics and coding skills (R, Python or Matlab)
- experience HD-EEG data acquisition and analyses
- experience in virtual reality, brain stimulation and/or machine learning
- Interpersonal and communication skills to effectively collaborate in a highly interdisciplinary, international research setting, including PhD student supervision
Candidates who only partially meet this profile are nonetheless strongly encouraged to apply.
Please apply until 6 Fabruary 2022 with a brief motivation letter explaining your interest and qualifications regarding the position, your prior research/work experience, a CV, and contact information of two professional references.
The project is part of the research conducted by Donders Sleep & Memory Lab of Dr. Martin Dresler, associate professor at the department of Cognitive Neuroscience (CNS) of the Radboudumc, focusing on the cognitive neuroscience of sleep (see http://dreslerlab.org). The project will be co-supervised by Dr. Daniel Erlacher, professor at the University of Bern and a leading expert on lucid dreaming.
The project is embedded in the infrastructure of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, a world leading centre for cognitive neuroscience that offers a unique, multidisciplinary working and learning environment with opportunities for developing expertise in a diversity of research areas and techniques. The centre is equipped with two (sleep) EEG labs, three 3T MRI scanners and access to a high field (7T) MR system, MR-compatible EEG systems, a 275-channel MEG system, multimodal brain stimulation labs, and high-performance computational facilities.
Radboud University Medical Center is a university medical center for patient care, scientific research, and education in Nijmegen. Radboudumc strives to be at the forefront of shaping the healthcare of the future. We do this in a person-centered and innovative way, and in close collaboration with our network. We want to have a significant impact on healthcare. We want to improve with each passing day, continuously working towards better healthcare, research, and education. And gaining a better understanding of how diseases arise and how we can prevent, treat, and cure them, day in and day out. This way, every patient always receives the best healthcare, now and in the future. Because that is why we do what we do.
- Temporary, 3 years
- 36 hours/week
- Dutch salary scale 10
- Application deadline 6 February 2022
- Please apply here!
If you have any questions on this position, please don’t hesitate to contact us!