Simply put, lucid dreams are those dreams, where the individual is fully aware of the fact that he/she is dreaming. These dreams can be vivid and almost life-like, where the individual is capable of controlling and modifying the aspects or situations in the dream to his/her own will. This ability has helped millions of people suffering from nightmares, to get better accustomed to their daily life and beat insomnia and fear.
A recent study carried out on a group of lucid dreamers has helped scientists gain a wonderful insight on some of the unsolved mysteries of neuroscience.
While science has truly progressed beyond leaps and bounds, there are still some aspects of the human mind which we cannot yet grasp completely. Self-perception and self consciousness are among a few of them. Neuroscientists have tried hard to find out the particular areas of the brain that are responsible for self-consciousness and self perception without much success.
A recent study, carried out by the scientists from the Max Planck Institutes of Psychiatry in Munich and for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and from Charité in Berlin have now used lucid dreaming as a catalyst to determine the areas of human responsible for self consciousness and perception. This experiment took into account the MRT (magnetic resonance tomography) scans of lucid dreamers and compared them with those of non-lucid dreamers. Considering the fact that lucid dreamers were completely aware of their dreams and their ability to modify the dreams, they activated those zones of the brain that were involved with self perception even in their dreams, unlike those of the non-lucid dreamers.
When the scans were compared, they revealed that the zones that were activated in the lucid dreamers included the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the frontopolar regions and the precuneus. This study only further clarifies the involvement of the areas of cerebral cortex and the precuneus in the self assessment and evaluation of one's thoughts and feelings.