A pre-lucid dream is one in which the dreamer considers the question, "Am I asleep and dreaming?" The dreamer may or may not come to the correct conclusion. Such experiences are liable to occur to people who are deliberately cultivating lucid dreams, but may also occur spontaneously to those with no prior intention to achieve lucidity in dreams.
The term "pre-lucid dream" was first introduced by Celia Green in her book Lucid Dreams (1968).
It is generally preferred to the term "near-lucid" dream on the following grounds:
- Historical priority: it has been in use since 1968.
- Currency: it was subsequently adopted by other writers on the phenomenon of lucid dreaming, such as Stephen LaBerge (1985).
- Clarity: lucidity in dreams may be thought of as a dichotomous variable: one either is or is not aware that one is dreaming at any given moment. Once lucidity is achieved it may have varying degrees of attainment, both from one person to another and from one dream to another within the same person. For example, one's memory of past events in one's waking life may be accessible and accurate to a greater or lesser degree (cf. Green, 1968, chapters 12–13: "Memory in lucid dreams" and "Analytical thought in lucid dreams"). However, the bare fact of whether or not one is aware one is dreaming does not admit of gradations.
- Green, C. (1968). Lucid Dreams. London: Hamish Hamilton.
- LaBerge, S. (1985). Lucid Dreaming. New York: Ballantine Books.