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Sources returnpage

Tholey, Paul

Category: Scientist

Paul Tholey (1937 - 1998),  was a German Gestalt psychologist, who was interested in the scientific study of dreams.  He realised that the memory of dreams on waking is unreliable and used lucid dreaming in his research. 

Tholey started the study of oneirology in an attempt to prove that dreams occur in colour. Given the unreliability of dream memories, he used lucid dreaming. He devised the reflection technique for inducing lucid dreams, consisting in continuously suspecting waking life to be a dream, in the hope that such a habit would manifest itself during dreams.

Paul Tholey's research included the examination of the cognitive abilities of dreamers, as well as the cognitive abilities of dream figures. In the latter study, nine trained lucid dreamers were directed to set other dream figures arithmetic and verbal tasks during lucid dreaming (Cognitive abilities of dream figures in lucid dreams, 1983). Dream figures who agreed to perform the tasks proved more successful in verbal than in arithmetic tasks.

I have provided an observation which describes his research and findings in some detail, the article also includes a number of examples of lucid dreams.



Most of Tholey's work is in German - he wrote a book on lucid dreaming for example [see right].  Papers in English include

  • Techniques for inducing and manipulating lucid dreams. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 57, 1983, pp 79–90.
  • Relation between dream content and eye movements tested by lucid dreams. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 56, 1983, pp 875–878.
  • Cognitive abilities of dream figures in lucid dreams. Lucidity Letter, 71, 1983.

I have provided a number of extracts from the following paper

  • Conversation Between Stephen LaBerge and Paul Tholey in July of 1989  - STEPHEN LABERGE, PAUL THOLEY, and BRIGITTE HOLZINGER (Editor) - This interview took place at the 1989 Association for the Study of Dreams (ASD) conference in London. LaBerge and Tholey were already familiar with each other’s work, but met for the first time in person at this conference. Their conversations focused on the concept of the consciousness of dream characters and Tholey’s "mirror technique" for inducing OBEs.



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