A group of 40 scientists from 11 different countries in the world has warned of a newly emerging type of commercial in which companies are trying to manipulate people's dreams.
The scientists accused a group of companies, Coors Light, Microsoft, Sony, and Burger King of experimenting with ways to redesign the content of human dreams, which prompted what Nearly 40 sleep and brain scientists wrote an open letter earlier this June calling for increased government oversight of these experiments.
As researchers in the field of sleep, dreams, and brain sciences, we are deeply concerned about the marketing schemes that some companies are pursuing with the aim of making profits at the expense of interfering with people's natural dreams. We believe there is an urgent and urgent need for proactive measures and new preventive policies to prevent these companies from manipulating one of the last refuges of our already beleaguered minds and selves... our dreams.
The list of scientists included professors from the most famous institutes and universities such as Harvard, Cambridge, California, Canada, Montreal, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Australia, Monash, Germany, the German Institute of Sleep and Dreams Technology, Sweden's Land University, the Paris Institute for French Brain Research, and other top institutes and universities in the world.
In a video released in February, CoorsLight teamed up with a Harvard University researcher to implant an ad in the dreams of volunteer participants. The experiment was an advertisement for one of the company's products. The company later said it used paid actors in the ad, but the researchers say the underlying science used in the experiment is very real.
Dr. Sarah Mednick, a sleep sciences researcher at the University of California who signed the open letter said, there is much cause for concern. There are many studies that show that we can enter that area while someone is sleeping, and plant whatever ideas we want without knowing anything when they wake up. It's a wonderful space for thought manipulation.
The technique used in these experiments is called dream incubation. In fact, the attempt of man to manipulate dreams is not a new thing, only humans discovered ways to influence their dreams thousands of years ago, but scientists recently developed tools for accurate measurement that we're able to measure this effect and the extent of the ability to change the content of a person’s dreams after he enters a deep sleep.
Dr. Mednick stresses said, we are more likely to be affected during dreaming than we are during waking.
During sleep, our brain decides which memories to keep, and which ones to get rid of. Scientists have learned that they can influence this process in many ways, whether by introducing sounds, smells, flashes of light, or even speak at crucial moments in the sleep cycle.
Mednick said, not only is sleep processing our memories and turning them into memories, but sleep is also an open period where we can access that area and manipulate what is remembered after waking up.
In fact, Kors is not the only company working on using dreams in advertising for its commercial products, Microsoft's Xbox has used these technologies to give professional gamers the dreams of their favorite video games, and so has PlayStation ( Playstation), a subsidiary of Sony Corporation, which used dream-incubation technology in one of its games, as the scientists mentioned in their letter.
This technique can also be used for useful purposes such as therapeutic purposes. A scientific study found that the dream nursery technique made addicted smokers use fewer cigarettes for up to a week, and these techniques can also treat some mental illnesses such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Scientific research indicates that dreams are fertile ground that can be exploited for commercial advertisements. Another scientific study conducted in 2019 found that people who dreamed of an advertisement during their sleep planned to buy that product they dreamed of 27% more than those who did not dream of that advertisement.
So far, companies have used these technologies only in experiments, they say, but Mednick and other scientists are very concerned that these technologies could soon be used on humans without their knowledge, and suffice it to mention that in the United States alone there are 40 million people who have smart speakers in their bedrooms.
Mednick explains that the Nest system used in smart homes, for example, knows when you sleep. It controls your speakers, controls the room temperature, and it controls the type of information that can come in. into your mind or come to your mind.
Mednick says the FTC has laws against ads that target people's subconscious when they are awake, but those laws don't apply to sleepers. There is no jurisdiction oversleep, it's the Wild West now.
He and the rest of the scientists who signed the list asked to update the laws before our dreams become billboards.