Now, a new study by scientists at the Max Planck Institute has offered some novel insight into the subject with the finding that a particular brain region known to be involved in self-reflection is larger in lucid dreamers. According to the researchers, this could mean that lucid dreamers are better at self-reflecting during wakefulness.
During a lucid dream individuals are aware that they are dreaming but have not left the sleep state. Some people are even able to control what is happening in the dream, allowing them to dream about anything they desire. Although lucid dreaming is poorly understood, studies have shown that frequent lucid dreamers demonstrate greater insight in everyday life than nonlucid dreamers.
As described in The Journal of Neuroscience, the brain images revealed that the most frequent lucid dreamers had greater volume in a brain region called the anterior prefrontal cortex compared to those within the low-lucidity group. Alongside this apparent change in brain structure, the researchers also observed differences in brain function. They found that those in the highly lucid group displayed more activity in this brain region during megacognitive, or thought monitoring, tests while awake.
These findings suggest a relationship between metacognition, in particular thought monitoring, and lucid dreaming and that these two abilities share neural networks.