Dream Manipulation Experiment

11 April 2012, 11:18 | Updated: 11 April 2012, 11:29

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire have started an experiment to see if an iPhone app can influence your dreams.

Thousands of people are expected to take part in the experiment and download a specially designed app that plays sounds while you're asleep.

It turns these sounds on when it senses you're no longer moving, signifying the onset of dreaming.

The sounds it plays are a carefully crafted 'soundscape' designed to evoke pleasant scenes like walking in woods, or lying on a beach.

The idea is that this will influence dreaming, causing dreamers to conjure up situations and experiences inspired by the sounds they are hearing.

At the end of the dream, the app sounds a gentle alarm to wake the dreamer, who submits a brief description of the dream to a 'dream-catcher' database.

Prof Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire, who is best known for his work on the paranormal, said: "Getting a good night's sleep and having pleasant dreams boosts people's productivity, and is essential for their psychological and physical well being. Despite this, we know very little about how to influence dreams. This experiment aims to change that."

As many as 10,000 people are expected to take part in the mass-participation study, launched at the Edinburgh International Science Festival.