Jayne Gackenbach

Professor Emeritus, Psychology

PhD, MS (Virginia Commonwealth), BA (New Mexico)


Dr. Gackenbach received her PhD in 1978 in Experimental Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is retired as Emeritus Professor in Psychology from MacEwan University.

As well as being a past-president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, she has numerous professional publications on dreams and in the last decade on video game play. Dr. Gackenbach is editor of Sleep and Dreams: A Sourcebook (1986) for Garland Publishers. She co-edited Conscious Mind, Sleeping Brain: Perspectives on Lucid Dreaming (1988) for Plenum Publishers and Dream Imagery: A Call to Mental Arms (1991) for Baywood Publishers. Her first authored book is Control Your Dreams (1989; 2012) for HarperCollins. She was invited in 1992 to present her work on lucid dreaming to the Dalai Lama at a conference on sleeping, dreaming, and dying.

Dr. Gackenbach’s interests have shifted to computer-mediated communications. In this regard she has edited a book from Academic Press (1998; 2007), Psychology and the Internet: Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Transpersonal Implications and co-wrote a book called cyber.rules for Norton publishers (2007) which examines healthy and unhealthy internet use. The most recent book (2017) she edited is Boundaries of Self and Reality Online for Elsevier/Academic Press.

Dr. Gackenbach’s most recent research interest combines her dream and technology interests, examining the dreams of video game players. She has released two related books. One was co-written with her gamer son, Teace Snyder, on the effects of video game play, Play Reality. She also has an edited book, Video Game Play and Consciousness from NOVA publishers. Both books came out in 2012. She continues in retirement to pursue an active research program into gaming and dreams, which expanded in recent years to include social media usage.

Dreams, consciousness, virtual reality, video game play, nightmares, social media, lucid dreams, control dreams, digital life

Selected Publications / Presentations / Conference Papers

Gackenbach, J. I., & Hakopdjanian, S. (2016). Breaking the frame of digital, dream, and waking realities. In S. Schafer (Ed.), Exploring the collective unconscious in the age of digital media (pp. 79-106). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-9891-8.ch003

Gackenbach, J.I., Swanston, D., & Stark, H. (2016). Effects of video game play versus meditation/prayer in waking and dreaming experiences. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 47(2), 1-31.

Gackenbach, J.I., Yu, Y., Lee, M., Zhou, Z., & Yu, G. (2016). Gaming, social media, gender in China and Canada. Gender, Technology and Development, 20(3), 1-36.

Gackenbach, J.I., Darlington, M., Ferguson, M.L., & Boyes, A. (2013) Video game play as nightmare protection: A replication and extension. Dreaming. (APA online direct)

Gackenbach, J.I. (Ed.) (2012). Video game play and consciousness. Hauppauge, NY: NOVA Science publishers.


Professional Associations / Memberships

  • International Association for the Study of Dreams
  • American Psychological Association
  • Canadian Game Studies Association