What I Learned at the 2012 IASD Conference

Here are excerpts from notes I took during the recent conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, held in Berkeley, California, June 22-26.  In parentheses I’ve put the names of the people who were presenting or commenting at the time.


Jung’s focus on the number 4 is “dangerous” and promises a “seductive wholeness.”  (John Beebe)


In electrophysiological terms, as measured by the EEG, lucid dreaming can be described as meditation in sleep. (Jim Pagel)


A challenge for lucid dreamers: How to distinguish a failed lucidity technique from a sage warning from the unconscious. (Jeremy Taylor)


The pioneering French filmmaker George Meliere drew upon the fantastically creative, compelling illusions of dream experience to create a tradition of visionary cinema that we see today in “The Matrix” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” (Bernard Welt)


In a sample of 170 German school children, those who talk with their parents, siblings, and friends about dreams tend to have higher dream recall, suggesting a positive relationship between dream socialization and recall. (Michael Schredl)


People who are high dream recallers seem to have more activity in the brain’s tempero-parietal junction and medial prefrontal cortex, in both waking and sleep conditions.  These brain areas have been associated in waking with mental imagery and mind attributions (theory of mind), respectively. (Jean-Baptiste Eichenlaub, et al.)


Sleep laboratory researchers are perfecting a method of awakening a person several times during the night at precise moments in the sleep cycle in order to induce an experience of sleep paralysis. (Elizaveta Solomonova)


Neuroscientists are experimenting with the use of transcranial direct current stimulation to directly affect the brain activity underlying dream experiences.  (Katja Valli)


Reflective awareness in dreaming can give humans an adaptive edge because in dreams we have the ability to anticipate, explore, and practice possible selves and possible worlds.  This ability can be cultivated through disciplined intentional mental practice.  We can change our brain anatomy simply by using our imaginations.  (Tracey Kahan, quoting Norman Doidge in the last sentence)


The “Inception” app is “worth a free download.” (David Kahn)


The mantra of the quantified self: If you track it, it improves. (Ryan Hurd)


In dream education with adolescents and young adults, the most relevant aspect of dreaming to their waking lives may be relational skills and emotional intelligence, helping them better navigate the complex currents of friendship, romance, and family life. (Phil King and Bernard Welt)


4 Replies to “What I Learned at the 2012 IASD Conference”

  1. What the source and content and context of Beebe’s quote:
    Jung’s focus on the number 4 is “dangerous” and promises a “seductive wholeness.” (John Beebe)

    1. Beebe was giving a talk on his work with Jung’s personality typology, and he seemed to feel that if we only look at the number 4, we miss the broader wholeness represented by the numbers 8 and 16, which Beebe fills out with primary, secondary, and tertiary functions. It gets very complex, though fascinating. I was just struck by the harsh words against the number 4, which I can only figure is a problem for Beebe because he wants us to expand our sense of the psyche’s potentiality?

  2. I am not a dream specialist but a junguian analyst….from that perspective I believe the context for Beebe’s statement is an overvaluation of the number 4 as a representative of potential wholeness that is already becoming manifest.

    1. Yes, that’s a good way of putting it. To be clear, I get Beebe’s theoretical point. I just felt a kind of Sesame Street defensiveness on behalf of poor number 4, being maligned in public like that….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.