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On this site you can also find information on the Research, check out the Technology, find a list of Frequently Asked Questions and some Testimonials from participants in Virtual Dreaming studies in Australia. You can also check out the Dreamguides, a community organisation already working with the technology.


The Founding of IDDR

The Institute for the Development of Dream Research originally set out to create a new manner of treating psychological trauma using technology based on virtual reality. Whilst other companies were employing bulky headsets and pedestals to create crude polygon-based worlds and software designers were dreaming up fantasy worlds for growing legions of teenaged gamers, our company had a more humanitarian niche in mind.

In much the same way the simulated reality that is the world of television is often blamed for desensitizing young people to violence, we sought to employ the same sentiment by using a virtual world to treat victims of stress and other afflictions, such as phobias. There is significant documented evidence that points to the benefits of being carefully re-exposed to the cause of the phobia and its aid in treating various disorders. And so a virtual world seemed an ideal method of treatment, one where the specific causes and nature of the disorder could be identified and treatment applied in a controlled manner.
 
Throughout history there have been many attempts to further our understanding of dreams. The Aborigines hold to the Dreamtime, when the world was created from the infinite possibilities that existed. Sigmund Freud held that dreams were a window into the unconscious desires inherent in people, and could be interpreted as such. This view was widely held amongst western society until the late twentieth-century when scientists such as Allan Hobson and Mark Solms began to propose theories suggesting there was a more chaotic element to dreaming, though they were of different opinions as to where exactly within the human brain dreams originated.

The twentieth-century led to a flurry of research on the human brain and a renewed interest in dreaming as neurology and psychology became more accepted within the scientific community. It was Wilder Penfield who, almost by accident during his studies of epilepsy, discovered that an electrical current could stimulate specific areas of the brain to create a dream-like state, notably areas of the forebrain including the parietal lobe, which deals with integrating sensory information, and the hippocampus, which deals with memory.

The idea for the Virtual Dreaming technology grew out of a postgraduate thesis by Gary McNaughton in 2000. His thesis was influenced by J. Allan Hobson's work which involved implanting microelectrodes on the brain stems of cats. McNaughton devoted the latter part of his thesis to the practical applications of electrical stimulation of the brain outside of electroshock therapy, which by the 1960’s had fallen out of favour.

His work put forward the idea of stimulated dreaming as a form of alternative therapy. He founded the Institute for the Development of Dream Research (IDDR) to further investigate practical avenues for the use of stimulated dreaming. This is our organization and McNaughton’s ideas form the core behind our research into the realm of lucid dreaming.

 

On this site you can also find information on the Research, check out the Technology, find a list of Frequently Asked Questions and some Testimonials from participants in Virtual Dreaming studies in Australia. You can also check out the Dreamguides, a community organisation already working with the technology.

 

Home Research History Technology Testimonials FAQ

This page last updated 10 March 2008

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