International Association for the Study of Dreams

Christopher Nolan's new film features Leonardo DiCaprio as a skilled "extractor" stealing government secrets through dreams. Find out the facts about dream sharing.

Christopher Nolan's new film features Leonardo DiCaprio as a skilled "extractor" stealing government secrets through dreams. Find out the facts about dream sharing.
The opinions expressed by the authors of these articles are not necessarily the opinions of IASD.

Deirdre Barrett
Inception, Reviewed by Deirdre Barrett, PhD

    In Chris Nolan’s film Inception, thieves can enter other people’s dreams via IV drug drips. They exploit the technique for industrial espionage to “extract” trade secrets and for “inception” to plant an idea which the victim will think is his own. This is a heist film: the audience is set up to root for Leonardo DiCaprio’s character and his fellow thieves. Unlike the films of David Lynch or Tom DeCillo, Inception is not rambling, surreal--or even very dreamlike.  Rather, dreams are a plot device which affords more dramatic visuals than stealing diamonds from vaults ever could.  Instead of the loose logic of the dream, there is a tight and intricate thriller plot.  continue to article

Deirdre Barrett, PhD is a psychologist at Harvard. She is a past President of IASD and APA's Division 30. Dr. Barrett has written four books including The Committee of Sleep and The Pregnant Man; and has edited three others including The New Science of Dreaming, Trauma and Dreams, and the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreaming. She is Managing Editor of IASD's scholarly journal, Dreaming.

Deirdre Barrett discusses Inception with the Media
Inception Interview on CNN with Deirdre Barrett, PhD

 Inception interview on ABC

 CNN 7/22/10
[Can Your Dreams Be Manipulated]

 NBC Today show 7/24/10 [
Eyes Wide Shut]

 ABC 8/2/10 [How to Guide your Dreams]

Insider of the Week - What Harvard Dream Researcher Thinks of Inception


IASD Researchers : Jayne Gackenbach (editor) David Kahn, Stanley Krippner, Anthony Zadra, Tracey Kahan, Curtis Hoffman and Bob Hoss

What does the Science Say about Entering Someone Else’s Dream?

Because of the attention brought to dreams through the release of the film “Inception”, IASD has posted a page talking about dream “sharing”. While many believe that one can to some extent enter the dream of someone else, or “share” a dream, science and research has yet to demonstrate that and as dream researchers we therefore must take a more conservative perspective. We thought that it would be useful for this discussion to share our view.    continue to article

Jayne Gackenbach, PhD (Canada) is on the psychology faculty at Grant MacEwan University. A Past President of IASD, she has numerous publications primarily on dreams, higher states of consciousness and electronic media. Her research focuses on how video game play affects consciousness. 

Interview with scientists and actors for Inception marketing campaign including IASD's G. W. Domhoff, PhD, and Jayne Gackenbach, PhD.

Inception, Shared Dreams and Lucid Dreaming

How can you become lucid or consciously aware in the dream state?

To achieve the sudden realization, “This is a dream!” requires a bit of effort, persistence and focus. You can use the power of suggestion to set up a lucid dream before going to sleep. Inwardly become quiet, let go of the day’s event and repeat, “Tonight in my dreams, I will be more critically aware. When I see something strange, I will realize I am dreaming and become lucid.” During the night’s dreaming, you may see something so strange that you realize, “That’s impossible. This is a dream!”
 continue to article

Robert Waggoner, explores shared or mutual lucid dreams in his book, Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self (Moment Point Press: 2009). An experienced lucid dreamer with more than one thousand lucid dreams, he is the immediate past President of IASD, and current Chair of the Board. He co-edits the quarterly e-zine, The Lucid Dream Exchange at

Shared Dreaming

Is it possible for us to share dreams while we are asleep, be aware that we are dreaming as the dream goes on, and remember these dreams when we wake? Yes.

Research findings in the past thirty years indicate that many of us spontaneously share images or appear simultaneously in each others' dreams. This type of mutual dreaming can be broken into two categories:   continue to article

Jean Campbell, MA is CEO of The iMAGE Project, moderator of The World Dreams Peace Bridge (, and author of several books and articles including Group Dreaming: Dreams to the Tenth Power (2006). She has served IASD as President and as Chair of the IASD Board of Directors.

Dale E. Graff

Real Government PSI: Some Thoughts After the Making of Men Who Stare at Goats

When the movie, “The Men Who Stare at Goats” was released I became caught up in the publicity generated by the movie. This publicity resulted from the movie’s liberal portrayal of Stargate, the US government’s program in research and applications of a mental ability referred to as remote viewing (RV). In the “Goats” movie some of the action is based on the Stargate activities.     continue to article

Dale E. Graff, MS is an internationally recognized lecturer, writer and researcher in psi topics. He is a former Director of Project Stargate, the US government program for research and applications of remote viewing. His books Tracks in the Psychic Wilderness and River Dreams discuss remote viewing, psi dreaming, precognition and synchronicities (


Inception Engaging, but not really about dreams

Christopher Nolan’s ”Inception” is an engaging action film. But it is merely that: a film. Not even really a film about dreams. In fact, whilst I enjoyed the complex storyline immensely, I was a little disappointed that the film’s production team had not wanted the film to depict dreaming in an accurate way.     continue to article

Dr. Caroline Horton, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Dream Researcher, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK.


Self Inception: The Architect Within

Robert Hoss, M.S. with input from David Kahn, PhD and E. Hartmann, M.D.

The movie Inception proposes an exciting fantasy dream world where the dream is populated by mutual dreamers adventuring into the deep layers of the unconscious, engaging with subconscious projections as well as the inception of new thoughts intended to change the dreamer’s waking views and behavior, all taking place on a dream stage designed by the “architect.” Although Hollywood may have staged the players as outside forces and stretched the nature of their roles much as they stretched time, our dreams do indeed contain many of the elements of Inception. However, our nightly dreams tend toward a natural inception where we venture into our own unconscious to engage with our own inner “projections,” guided by our own ‘architect’ within, which in a sense designs our dreams to follow a natural tendency toward mental well-being.      continue to article

Bob Hoss M.S. is author of Dream Language, IASD Treasurer and Past President and DreamScience Foundation Director for funding research grants. A scientist with Gestalt training, he has taught dreamwork for 30 years, is on the faculty of the Haden Institute, and hosted the IASD DreamTime radio series ( 


"I suppose that was my dream that they would reach a transformative state..."

Fariba Bogzaran reviews Inception.

I am certain many viewers are walking out of Inception with great delight at the concept. Its creative expression is brilliant. As someone who has been teaching Extraordinary Dreams such as lucid dreaming, dreams within dreams, mutual dreaming, for a very long time, I left the movie with some questions.      continue to article

Fariba Bogzaran, PhD.  Besides being involved with the early lucid dream research with Stephen Laberge, Fariba founded and directed the Dream Studies Program at JFKU, established, chaired and curated the dream arts program and exhibit for IASD, and is currently the co-founder and director of the Lucid Arts Foundation. She is the author of books on art, extraordinary dreaming and other psychospiritual themes(

Some Rules of the Road for Shared Dreaming

1. Just for fun, if you dream clearly about a partner or friend, ask that person what their dreams were on the same night. You might be surprised. Spontaneous shared dreams are fairly common.

2. Pick a friend to practice with if you are interested in mutual dreaming. Dream ethics are same ones we practice in waking life.

a. Never be invasive; always ask permission.
b. Be as gentle and kind as possible to "the other" both in and out of the dream.
c. Be honest with yourself and those with whom you dream.
d. Set growth and creative exploration as priorities.

3. Trying to get lucid? Several useful suggestions can be found in the lucid dreaming section of this page.

4. Shared dreams can be incubated just like any other dream. Set a place to meet that you both (or all) know, and see what happens.

5. Remember there are other dreamers who have had these or similar experiences. There are a number of excellent online forums where questions can be discussed. Visit  IASD's discussion forum for a special thread on the film Inception.

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