Dreaming the Virtual: How Lucid Dream Practice Can Inform VR Development

Academic Article


  • Using the grounded theory method (GTM), this article proposes an “integral” model for studying the development and use of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) technologies. Integral models seek holistic understanding by combining third-person, empirical perspectives with first-person, subjective experience. Here, the proposed model provides a comparative analysis of immersive virtual reality (VR) platforms and the practice of lucid dreaming (maintaining conscious self-awareness while dreaming). Based on a discursive analysis of technologists’ statements about VR, and a review of literature on lucid dreaming, this article identifies a largely unexamined area of research. Indeed, the proposed model suggests that dream research is highly relevant to VR development as a catalyst for ethical critique of emerging commercial technologies. Though informed by Buddhist philosophy, this is primarily a secular approach based in moral-developmental psychology and contemplative studies. It constitutes an example of Contemplative Media Studies, which involves the application of contemplative practices and principles to the critical analysis of media technologies, content, and institutions.
  • Authors

    Publication Date

  • July 30, 2018
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)


  • 11
  • Issue

  • 2