What is the science behind precognitive dreams

Precognitive Dreams

Here is what is called a precognitive dream that was used in Van de Castle, R.L. (1994) is reported; Our dreaming minds; Ballantine, New York; Pp. 406-407.

"Walter Franklin Prince, a psychologist and minister of bishops, ... dreamed that he had a small piece of paper in hand with an order in red ink to execute the porter, a slender woman with blond hair, about thirty-five years old. The woman appeared to have voluntarily brought the warrant to Dr. Prince, indicating his willingness to die if he would just hold her hand. After examining the warrant, the lights went out and it was dark. Prince couldn't determine how the woman was killed, but she soon felt her hand grasp his and knew the deed was being done, then he felt one of his hands on the hair of her head, which was loose and separated from her body, and he felt the moisture The fingers of his other hand were trapped in the woman's mouth, which opened and closed several times. Prince was horrified at the thought of the severed, but alive nd the head. Then the dream faded.

Two days later, local newspaper The Evening Telegram reported that a woman Sara Hand deliberately put her head in front of the wheels of a train that had stopped at a Long Island Rail Road station at around 11:15 a.m. on the night of November 28, so that the wheels could be pulled run over their necks and behead them when it starts. Near the body was a new butcher's knife and cleaver that Hand apparently wanted to use for her self-determined "execution" before deciding to lay over the railroad tracks. A letter was found in her handbag nearby with the following message:

Please stop all trains immediately. My head is on the line and being run over by those steam engines preventing me from improving my condition ... My head is alive and can see and speak and I have to get it to prove my case to the law. Nobody believed me when I said I would never die and if my head were chopped off I would be alive. Everyone laughed and said I was crazy and now I've proven this terrible life to everyone.

Please stop all trains so that my head is not cut into fragments. I need it to speak, to prove my condition and to have the doctor arrested for this terrible life he put me in ... "

What should we do with such dreams?

Quantum effects in physics have been used by New Agers and others to argue for all sorts of silly things related to consciousness and human behavior, but it has to be said that at least these people have tried to grapple with philosophical questions in this science. Quantum information theory, in particular, which regards the basic components of physical reality as bits of information, has enormous philosophical implications for psychology, as the mind is essentially an information processing system. Still, I can't find any common psychological reviews on quantum information theory at all. Even a cursory understanding of this new science suggests that the mind simply cannot be understood in terms of the old mechanistic-materialistic dogmas that enthrall so many psychologists and are unable to discern facts before theirs Present eyes. We need, like the philosopher Daniel Dennett (himself fascinated by mechanics) to talk about materialism and in a different context about religion and not about his preferred “materialistic” beliefs: “Break the spell” of materialistic dogma. One of these dogmas is that the future cannot affect either the present or the past. But we have the opposite data. While there have been dozens of conferences in physics on the nature of time and such nerve-wracking effects as retrocausality, psychology has completely missed the boat in this regard.

However, two research streams in psychology have conducted pilot studies on timing anomalies. One concerns the pre-recognition in the laboratory and the other the pre-recognition in dreams. Perhaps the most creative of the prior art scientists, Daryl Bem introduced some classic affects through priming paradigms but modified them slightly to examine a subject's responses to priming stimuli before priming even occurs. In a standard priming setup, affective positive or negative words appear on a computer screen and then positive or negative images briefly appear and the subject has to press a button as quickly as possible to indicate whether the image is comfortable or uncomfortable. Generally happens when the positive image is faster after the positive word response times (RTs). RTs are also faster when a negative picture comes after a negative word and so on. These are called congruent conditions. Bem modified this procedure by presenting the picture and asked the subjects for answers as to whether the picture was pleasant or unpleasant. Only then did he present the actual prime number (negative or positive word). When the noun matched the original picture stimulus, Bem still got priming effects! It should be noted that Bem presented nine carefully designed and controlled experiments to eliminate possible confounding factors in these retroactive priming effects. As with any other biological ability, people are expected to be different in their ability to perform precognitive tasks, and Bem found evidence of this in his studies. Participants who were above midpoint on a stimulus search scale achieved a mean effect size of 0.43 on Precog tasks. This effect size is not huge, but it is respectable. I urge the reader to see Joachim Kruegers post also during these experiments.

Bem did not address the problem of precognitive effects associated with dreams, but people interested in dreams have noted these effects for millennia. Surveys show that more than 50% of the population say they have experienced at least one precognitive dream. A precognitive dream is defined as a dream that shows knowledge about the future that the dreamer could not have obtained through normal channels.

The most extensive studies of pre-recognition in dreams were carried out by the research group at Maimonides Hospital in New York (Ullman, Krippner & Vaughan, 1989). In these studies, a “sender” attempted to send images to a “recipient” who was sleeping in another room and whose sleep was recorded using standard EEG recordings. When the sleeper entered REM, he was woken up and reported what he was dreaming. Independent judges, blind to the purpose and procedures of the experiment, then took the dreams and assessed whether they contained any of the images sent by the sender. The experiments were monitored by independent observers and professional magicians to ensure that no possible leakage occurred between the experimenters, the transmitter, or the receiver. Subsequent analyzes of the hit rates yielded highly significant results. Dream images very often contained images sent by the sender. Further studies in other laboratories included the dreamer trying to dream of a target that was chosen at random as soon as he woke up. Once again, the hit rates were well above chance. Despite these exciting results, some laboratories were unable to replicate the highly significant hit rates while other laboratories replicated the basic results. Differences in replication can be due to many factors. Psi may not exist at all. Or, you may be much more likely to get significant hit rates by using high psi-skill participants like the high stimulus seekers in Bem's studies.


Bem, D. L. (2011). Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Abnormal Retroactive Effects on Cognition and Affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 407-425. M. Ullman, S. Krippner & A. Vaughan (1989). Dream telepathy: experiments with nocturnal ESP (2nd edition). Jefferson, NC USA: McFarland & Co.