Scientists Warn That Marketers Are Trying to Inject Ads Into Dreams, Should advertisers be allowed to hack your dreams?

Brain architecture, Inception – Explaining the dream world

Researchers and sleep experts are ringing alarm bells about a nascent marketing tactic: injecting advertisements into your dreams.

A trio of researchers at Harvard, MIT and the University of Montreal published an essay on dream hacking in Aeon warning that, according to a recent survey, 77 percent of marketers plan to use dreamtech advertising in the next three years.

“Multiple marketing studies are openly testing new ways to alter and drive purchasing behavior through sleep and dream hacking,” the team writes. “The commercial, for-profit use of dream incubation — the presentation of stimuli before or during sleep to affect dream content — is rapidly becoming a reality.”

Two of the essay’s authors previously worked on an MIT device designed to communicate with sleeping subjects and even “hack” their dreams, lending them credibility on the topic.

Of particular concern, they wrote, was an ad campaign by Molson Coors before this year’s Super Bowl, which promised free beer in exchange for participation in a “dream incubation” study involving a video with dancing beer cans and talking fish and pop star Zayn Malik. Interesting, the scientists pointed out, Coors used the phrase “targeted dream incubation,” a term coined by two of the three in a 2020 paper, meaning that advertisers are indeed keeping an eye on academic work on dream hacking.

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