Doing math in your sleep?

For the first time, researchers have had “conversations” involving novel questions and math problems with lucid dreamers—people who are aware that they are dreaming. The findings, from four labs and 36 participants, suggest people can receive and process complex external information while sleeping.

“This work challenges the foundational definitions of sleep,” says cognitive neuroscientist Benjamin Baird of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who studies sleep and dreams but was not part of the study. Traditionally, he says, sleep has been defined as a state in which the brain is disconnected and unaware of the outside world.


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[…] and corresponding to a Morse-coded math problem “4 minus 0.” The participant produced the correct answer “4” using left-right eye movements (LRLRLRLR). In his description of the dream, he maintained that he heard the message “4 plus 0” and answered accordingly.

Luckily, that second number was a zero…

[…] she nevertheless answered two math problems correctly and three incorrectly, and she reported a lucid dream upon awakening. In this example, we presented the spoken math problem “1 plus 2” and about 14 s later she produced eye signals to indicate the answer “3.”

Pretty sure 40% on any math test will get you an F…