Scientists warn of a new type of advertising where companies try to manipulate dreams

IRVINE (KUSI) – Companies around the world are increasingly experimenting with ways to inject product content into people’s dreams, to the point where nearly 40 scientists have written an open letter calling for augmented government oversight.

Dr. Sara Mednick, Professor of Cognitive Sciences from UC Irvine, joined KUSI’s Jason Austell to discuss the work of these companies.

Just a few of these companies experimenting with dream incubation are Coors Light, Microsoft, Sony, and Burger King.

Humans have just recently developed the tools that enable them to accurately predict when a sleeper enters deep sleep, and then manipulate the contents of their dreams.

People are more vulnerable to influences while dreaming than while conscious, according to Dr. Mednick.

Dr. Mednick, who signed the open letter, told Austell that if in the right hands, this could be something that could work very well to help smokers quit the habit, treat phobias, and PTSD.

In 2019, a study was done in Iran that found 27% of people were more likely to buy a product after dreaming about an ad.

Dr. Mednick was worried that ads could be used through Nest systems, which typically know when people are sleeping and control a house’s speakers.

Subliminal ads are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, but those rules may not apply when asleep, the open letter warns.

Dr. Mednick emphasized that there are no regulations in the world of sleep manipulation, making it a wild, wild west.

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