Dormio: A Targeted Dream Incubation Device

Haar Horowitz, Adam, Tony J. Cunningham, Pattie Maes, and Robert Stickgold. "Dormio: A targeted dream incubation device." Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 83, August 2020, 102938.


Information processing during sleep is active, ongoing and accessible to engineering. Protocols such as targeted memory reactivation use sensory stimuli during sleep to reactivate memories and demonstrate subsequent, specific enhancement of their consolidation. These protocols rely on physiological, as opposed to phenomenological, evidence of their reactivation. While dream content can predict post-sleep memory enhancement, dreaming itself remains a black box. Here, we present a novel protocol using a new wearable electronic device, Dormio, to automatically generate serial auditory dream incubations at sleep onset, wherein targeted information is repeatedly presented during the hypnagogic period, enabling direct incorporation of this information into dream content, a process we call targeted dream incubation (TDI). Along with validation data, we discuss how Dormio and TDI protocols can serve as tools for controlled experimentation on dream content, shedding light on the role of dreams in the overnight transformation of experiences into memories.

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