The summer blockbuster movie, "Inception," deals with stealing and planting thoughts inside someone's mind while they dream. ʺInceptionʺ is a cerebral adventure in nocturnal espionage.
But, is it real or science fiction? Can your dreams be invaded by others? And what if others are able to trick you into granting them complete access to your mind?
Experts versed in the science of dreaming say the notion is closer to reality than sci-fi.
ʺIf you tell yourself, 'Tonight when I dream, I want to realize that I'm dreaming,' or, 'Tonight, I want to dream about my deceased wife,' or, 'Tonight I want to dream my next great masterpiece' -- whether it's to solve a particular problem or if it's to see a person you want to see or a place you want to see, that's the single most powerful technique," said Deirdre Leigh Barrett, professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and a leader in the field of dream research.
Controlling one's dreams has been possible for centuries. Tibetan Buddhists practiced it 1,000 years ago; as did yogis.
"You'll find it in mystical works going back thousands of years," said Dr. Matthew Edlund, author of "The Power of Rest." "You'll find in some cultures that priests are thought to be able to enter into people's dreams, like a Shaman can enter into a sick person's dream and help them with their illness."
It's not unheard of to dream the same dream as someone else.
The people most likely to report sharing dreams are identical twins, long-married couples and people who have experienced a crisis together; situations of closeness; and shared experiences that prime the mind for a shared dream.
"In dreams normally, you're remaking the brain," Edlund said. "You're taking old memories and putting them together with what happened in the last 24 hours. And as we rebuild our brains at night, we create new ideas, we create creativity."
According to Jayne Gackenbach, a dream researcher at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada, a person considering a job choice might seek guidance from their deep subconscious.