Auditory Stimuli Impact on Teenage Girls Dream Cognition During the REM Sleep Stages

Friday, 13 February 2015
Exhibit Hall (San Jose Convention Center)
Gillian E. Covillo, Morristown, NJ
The field of experimental psychology explores learning, memory, and cognition. Recently, many studies in the field of experimental psychology have been oriented towards using olfactory stimuli as a way to enhance or influence dreams, but not many of these researchers have looked into the use of auditory stimuli as an alternative. It has been shown that auditory stimuli can activate the auditory cortex in dreaming, with a low possibility of waking the dreamer. It has also been shown that external verbal stimuli will be perceived as belonging to the dream. The purpose of this study was to reproduce the findings that auditory stimuli can be introduced to the sleeping unconsciousness and to determine whether different auditory stimuli, such as a voice recordings and music, can be used to influence dreams. To conduct this investigation, six teenage female participants who meet study specific criteria were enrolled. Over the course of the three-week study period, participants were exposed to various audio stimuli during sleep. Data was collected via participant dream journals and by capturing brain waves that were recorded by a portable electroencephalogram (EEG). The dream journals from each phase were analyzed to determine whether the auditory stimuli had an impact on the reported dreams. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze trends within the data between participants. Results showed that five factors, each occurring more than once, were found in the dream journals that matched the voice stimuli phase factors. Also it was seen that the music stimulus was heard for two out of the five participants. Future research is important to conduct because of the many things that are not known about the sleeping unconscious and whether it can be used to influence dreaming.