Is Lucid Dreaming a Sign of Intelligence?

Intelligent lucid dreaming brain

Many people wonder if there is a connection between being intelligent and being a lucid dreamer. At some fundamental level we all know that there is something different going on the brain of a lucid dreamer compared to a normal dreamer. So, is lucid dreaming a sign of intelligence.

Although there is no hard scientific evidence connecting higher intelligence with lucid dreaming, frequent lucid dreaming has been shown, in at least two scientific studies, to be associated with increased creativity and enhanced insight. The studies show that lucid dreamers tend to more focused, aware and have superior problem solving skills.

Do lucid dreamers have higher IQs?

The link between high IQ and lucid dreaming has not, as yet, been investigated by the scientific community – at least as far as IQ tests go.

Even though some people may display high intelligence, from an academic viewpoint, the only way to measure a person’s intelligence is through IQ tests. No studies have been conducted into the intelligence of lucid dreamers using IQ tests which means we have no solid scientific evidence, one way or the other, about the intelligence levels of lucid dreamers compared to non-lucid dreamers.

However there is some other scientific evidence, and also anecdotal evidence, that suggests lucid dreamers may well have higher than average intelligence.

So although there is no hard scientific evidence based on IQ testing to suggest that a link between intelligence and lucid dreaming exists many lucid dreamers display characteristics that could be deemed as a clear indication of higher intelligence, especially when connected to life skills.

The scientific evidence for higher IQ in lucid dreamers

There is at least one psychology study that has indicated that lucid dreamers may display higher intelligence than normal.

In the psychology study three sets of participants were included. They were:

  1. Frequent lucid dreamers.
  2. Occasional lucid dreamers.
  3. Non-lucid dreamers.

The study was designed to measure the problem-solving skill level of the participants to see if there is a difference between lucid dreamers and non-lucid dreamers and also to see if the frequency of the lucid dreaming of the participant had an effect on their abilities.

All participants were given a compound remote problem-related task to solve.

The results showed that lucid dreamers were capable of solving problems much more successfully than non-lucid dreamers with the most significant success being demonstrated by those who frequently experienced lucid dreams. They could solve 25% more problems.

Similar results were documented in a separate UK university study designed to measure brain activity in lucid dreamers. The study found there was increased functional connectivity between the frontopolar cortex and temporoparietal areas of the brain.

What does this mean as far as intelligence in concerned?

Well, the results of the aforementioned study would suggest that the higher cognition and insight that lucid dreamers experience while they sleep is carried over into the waking world allowing them to demonstrate higher cognition when they are awake. This gives them better insight and improved problem-solving abilities.

Although no IQ tests were administered in either of the studies it can be argued that the higher cognition, better problem-solving abilities and enhanced insight displayed by lucid dreamers is a mark of intelligence. The fact they displayed these abilities to a much greater degree than non-lucid dreamers would therefore lead us to believe that lucid dreamers are more intelligent, at least in those areas.

However, I can see at least one glaring problem with both studies, but especially with one that focused on problem-solving tasks.

The weakness in the studies

One study did not included both spontaneous and trained lucid dreamers and the other never differentiated between them.

Why is this a problem and why is it important to include both types of lucid dreamer and then assign them to separate groups?

Trained lucid dreamers usually have a very different type of lucid dream to a spontaneous lucid dreamer and therefore tend to display different levels of cognition.

In the UK study there was no differentiation made between the type of lucid dreamers that were included in the research while in the other study only spontaneous lucid dreamers were included (the study designed to measure problem-solving abilities). At worst this could seriously askew the final results and at best it is likely to lead to a misrepresentation of what is actually happening thus leading to incomplete data.

To understand why this is the case let’s briefly touch on the difference between spontaneous lucid dreamers and trained lucid dreamers.

Spontaneous lucid dreamers are natural lucid dreamers who have not trained in lucid dreaming techniques. They usually have no control over when they have a lucid dream and the frequency of their lucid dreams. They also have much less dream-control within the lucid dream compared to trained lucid dreamers.

As trained lucid dreamers can induce lucid dreams at will, whenever they want, this shows some degree of control over their mental state. Trained lucid dreamers also have a much higher degree of control over their lucid dreams, with experienced trained lucid dreamers being able to do anything they want within the dreamworld. Their lucid dreams are also usually much clearer and more vivid.

This demonstrates that there is not just a difference between normal dreams and lucid dreams but there is also a difference between spontaneous lucid dreamers and those lucid dreamers who have trained in the skill. Using the type of lucid dreaming techniques taught here, trained lucid dreamers can both induce and control their dreams.

As the causes of lucid dreaming are connected to higher cognition this would lead us to believe that trained lucid dreamers may very well display higher cognition that spontaneous lucid dreamers because they can control what is happening.

Of course we need more research into this but I believe that not including both spontaneous lucid dreamers and trained lucid dreamers in the studies, and measuring them as participants of different groups, will have had an impact on the findings.

If you wish to know more about the type of uncontrolled lucid dreams that most spontaneous lucid dreamers have see this.

It is my assertion then that there would have been even higher levels of intelligence shown by the trained lucid dreamers had been properly included and classified in the studies. Just as the frequent lucid dreamers performed better than the occasional lucid dreamers in the second study, I believe that trained lucid dreamers would have performed better again.

Can lucid dreaming increase IQ?

What about using lucid dreaming to improve your intelligence can lucid dreaming make you smarter?

There is no scientific evidence that shows lucid dreaming can increase a person’s IQ. However, there is scientific evidence that suggests frequent lucid dreaming results in better connectivity between areas of the brain that are connected to problem solving, insight, heightened creativity and improved decision making. 

Although neither of the studies mentioned in this article actively measured the IQ of the participants, we can assume that the lucid dreamers were definitely displaying characteristics of higher intelligence. But is this a result of genetics, a predisposition to improving intellectually or is it caused by lucid dreaming. In other words, can learning to lucid dream have a positive effect on your IQ?

I can state very confidently that my own IQ, both as far as problem solving goes and as far as IQ testing goes, has increased since I learned to lucid dream. My measured IQ improved by 9 points from 139 to 148 over a 2 year period after learning how to lucid dream.

Although I have not tested this, I also think that as my lucid dreaming skills improved my intelligence also improved. At the very least my ability to handle life problems and reach successful conclusions increased. I think this is not just about the mechanics of lucid dreaming though.

You see, you can use lucid dreams to test possible future outcomes that may arise from your current course of action and this helps make your problem-solving skills reach even higher levels (see this article about manifesting your goals and this article about using lucid dream reality shifting to test out potential futures).

I have found that after using my lucid dreams to test possible outcomes I started to do it naturally and automatically during my waking day. I definitely became better at seeing the long-term consequences of my actions which I believe is a mark of higher intelligence.

I realise that my own experiences, and those of other lucid dreamers who share similar stories, amounts only to anecdotal evidence but it is strong evidence nonetheless. It is for me anyway and it is for many other lucid dreamers.

I recognize that there is a need for some clear scientific data on this and I think a study is needed into it.

In such a study researchers could start by measuring the intelligence of a person who cannot lucid dream and then measuring their intelligence again after they have been taught the skill, through a reputable course like this. Then, after some time has passed and the person has been lucid dreaming regularly and improving their dream-control skills, their intelligence could be measured again.

This approach would show if learning to lucid dream, and using the skill regularly, does indeed increase a person’s intelligence as is asserted by many lucid dreamers (myself included).

This study is plausible and completely possible as it has been shown that everyone can be taught to lucid dream with the right training.

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