Stephen LaBerge

stephen laberge by jolyon troscianko

Stephen LaBerge (born 1947) is a psychophysiologist and a leader in the scientific study of lucid dreaming. In 1967 he received his Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics. He received his Ph.D. in Psychophysiology at Stanford University in 1980.

He developed a technique to enable himself and other researchers to enter a lucid dream state at will, MILD (mnemonic induction of lucid dreams), which was necessary for many forms of dream experimentation. In 1987, he founded The Lucidity Institute, an organization that promotes research into lucid dreaming, as well as running courses for the general public on how to achieve a lucid dream.

His technique of signalling to a collaborator monitoring his EEG with agreed-upon eye movements during REM became the first published, scientifically verified signal from a dreamer’s mind to the outside world. The first confirmed signal came from the work of a British parapsychologist Keith Hearne; however his group did not publish their results until later. Though the technique is simple, it opens broad new avenues of dream research and pushed the field of dream research, or oneirology, beyond its protoscientific and largely discredited psychoanalytic roots.

LaBerge developed a series of devices to help users enter a lucid state while dreaming. The original device was called a DreamLight, which was discontinued in favor of the NovaDreamer, designed by experienced lucid dreamer Craig Webb for the Lucidity Institute while he worked there and participated in lucid dreaming research at Stanford. Both devices consist of a mask worn over the eyes with LEDs positioned over the eyelids. The LEDs flash whenever the mask detects that the wearer has entered REM sleep. The stimulus is incorporated into the wearer’s dreams and can be recognized as a sign that they are dreaming.

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