Lucid dream mathematics: An explorative online study of arithmetic abilities of dream characters

  • Tadas Stumbrys (Author)
    Heidelberg University
  • Daniel Erlacher (Author)
    Heidelberg University
  • Steffen Schmidt (Author)
    Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Identifiers (Article)


In dreams we usually interact with other dream characters that seem to talk and behave logically. Lucid dreamers, who are aware that they are dreaming during the dream, can have deliberate conversations with their dream characters and ask them to accomplish specific tasks. Previous studies have shown that dream characters can be creative and ingenious, but they seem to struggle with more logical tasks, such as doing arithmetic. The present pilot study explored arithmetic abilities of dream characters in greater details. Twelve proficient lucid dreamers were instructed to ask dream characters in their lucid dreams to do addition, subtraction, multiplication and division tasks. The findings suggest that dream characters are not outstanding mathematicians: Only about a third of their answers were correct and their arithmetic abilities do not surpass those of primary school children. Surprisingly, dream characters were more successful with multiplication and division tasks than with addition and subtraction. Some gender differences were also observed: Most successful were male dream characters in male participants’ dreams. Findings are discussed and recommendations are made for future studies, preferably conducted in a sleep laboratory, are provided.


lucid dreaming, dream characters, arithmetic
How to Cite
Stumbrys, T., Erlacher, D., & Schmidt, S. (2011). Lucid dream mathematics: An explorative online study of arithmetic abilities of dream characters. International Journal of Dream Research, 4(1), 35–40.