One Possible Key To Lucid Dreams: 40 Hertz

According to a new study, that's the frequency of electric current that, when sent to the frontal cortex via electrodes, best induced sleeping test subjects to become aware of their dream state. (Lower and higher frequencies had little effect.)

What's the Latest Development?


Researchers applied electrodes to the scalps of 72 test subjects and, once they fell asleep and entered a dream state -- as indicated by brain activity -- zapped them with 30-second bolts of electric current with frequencies ranging from two to 100 hertz (Hz). They then woke the subjects and asked them to describe their dreams. Seventy-seven percent of those who received a hit of 40 Hz reported being aware of their dream state while sleeping, a phenomenon commonly known as lucid dreaming.

What's the Big Idea?

Lucid dreaming corresponds with gamma wave activity in the brain's frontal cortex. Normally, this type of activity isn't present during sleep. However, not only did it increase as a result of the electrical stimulation, subsequent lucid dreams without stimulation showed an even greater increase. Researcher Ursula Voss of J.W. Goethe-University Frankfurt says, "We were surprised that it's possible to force the brain to take on a frequency from the outside, and for the brain to actually vibrate in that frequency and actually show an effect." Details of the study appear in Nature Neuroscience.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at LiveScience

Why the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner won’t feature a comedian in 2019

It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.

(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
Culture & Religion
  • The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
  • The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
  • Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

A new study says alcohol changes how the brain creates memories

A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
  • This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
  • The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
Keep reading Show less