August 15, 2010


"I sometimes think about an assignment when I'm in bed, but not asleep yet... It's not the same, I know, but sometimes brilliant ideas pop in my mind when I'm laying in the dark just the moment before falling asleep... These things happen most when I have to get some inspiration for a new logo, or when I need to find a solution for a difficult brochure.” Says E.L. (name protected), a Graphic Designer from UK, 6th of September 2006.

Incidentally, many people have used the hypnagogic state (the moment before asleep) to intentionally access their creativity to solve problems, like a Graphic Designer mentioned above, Thomas Edison (American inventor and businessman who developed many devices which greatly influenced life in the 20th century), or as inspiration for works of art (like Salvador Dalí). Edison for example would hold a handful of ball bearings over a metal bucket – he would allow himself to doze, while thinking about a problem. When he fell asleep the bearings would fall into the bucket with a clatter, waking him up. He would search the imagery for solutions, and would often find them.

In Chapter IV, we mentioned about the “The Slumber with a Key” technique in which Salvador Dalí used to induce creative images in sleep onset stage. During November, I ask volunteers to participate in two experiments. In the first experiment, I ask volunteers to induce dream before getting to sleep and relate dreams to their work. Other experiment is “The Slumber with a Key” technique.

Steps of the 1st experiment:
1-    Dream incubation before asleep;
2-    Recall dream and write it down in the next morning;
3-    Evaluate the dream elements to work out their work by combining the dream elements or ideas with the schoolwork.

It is discovered the following:

 Each individual was asked to practice dream incubation to obtain advice on his/her school works. It is discovered that people who always sleep less than 3 hours do not recall their dreams and assume they do not dream. People who sleep more than 8 hours recall their dreams in more details. No one can successfully incubate dreams related to their work under tiredness.

After all, the dreamers proceed to the final step, evaluating dream elements to work out the schoolwork.

The following chart shows the result of the experiment from 9th November until 28th of November (20 days). In the experiment, only two dreamers (A and D) can recombine the elements they observe in the dream, from which it stimulate the design work in waking life. Volunteer A reports that she often dreams of different combination of colors. Volunteer D reports that she sees a combination of squares and letters both in grey scale in the dream and also dreams of magician playing tricks several times. Lately, she uses hybrid images and illusion effects, and squares to work out her design. (These two volunteers usually remember their dreams in details and the images occur in the dream are related to their school works). Volunteer B reports that she dreams of her creative product (souvenir) in its totality, after the night she has already made the product. Others volunteers, C, E and F have failed to induce a desired dream. They dream of unrelated contents most of the time or simply do not remember their dreams. 

1st step: Dreaming.

2nd step: Sucessfully recall the dream and which is related to the school work.
3rd step: Sucessfully combine the idea and images from the dream to lately evolve the creative product in a waking state.

As we know in previous chapter, creative dreaming happens in two ways, as Dr. Patricia Garfield says, “in the first, dreamers observe the creative product in its totality in the dream. At other times, the dream provides the mood or idea from which the creative product evolves in a waking state”.

Two of the volunteers dreamed of the idea from which the creative product evolves in a waking state and one volunteer successfully induced a dream which is related to the creative product but she does not think that the images of the dream are helpful to her work on the creative product.

Whether we view our dreams are creative or not, the images of dreams contain elements, no matter abstract, or practical, it can stimulate us to evolve the creative product later in a waking state.

As mentioned before, during the sleep onset stage, there are images which contain great elements/ideas for creativity. Many artists, like Salvador Dalí, and inventors, like Thomas Edison, have used this process to obtain great creative inspirations. In the second experiment, I asked volunteers to doze when they craved to sleep, especially just after having an abundant lunch. Two volunteers participated in this experiment. Each of them held a heavy key which they kept suspended. Before that, they previously placed a metal plate upside down on the floor. After making this preparation, they sat on a comfortable chair or sofa and began to doze off. At the same time, they had to induce a desired dream which was related to the creative product they were working on. The moment the key dropped on the metal plate, it would awake them, and they had to report what images occurred at that point when they dozed off.

The experiments were done on the 28th and 30th of December, 2006. One volunteer reported that she could not fall asleep while thinking of her creative task. Another volunteer reported that he fell asleep right away, yet no images were reported as seen when he awoke each time. Moreover, both subjects reported that they felt uncomfortable while being watched as they attempted to doze. I suspected this might have contributed to subject’s inability to achieve creative ideas.

I would recommend a re-run of the second experiment. However, due to lack of volunteers to participate in the re-trial, the experiment could not be re-ran. Former volunteers had study and work commitments, hence they were unavailable.


Rafael Lam said...

Your essay is so complicate... @_@

Ristinw said...

XD it was so challenging and enjoyable to write this essay!! I got B only ^ . ^

Viola said...

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Anonymous said...

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Ristinw said...

thanks for visiting my blog and the invite to the dream blog! XD seems to be a nice place to share dreams. thanks