I wanted to open a discussion on how expectations influence reality checks in the dream state.
It's well known that dreams and dream characters will behave how you expect them to. When it comes to reality checks, however, I feel the answer is not as clear. Some people in the lucid dreaming community think that your expectations play a huge role in the success or failure of a reality check in a dream. I don't necessarily agree with this (although I'm always open to being corrected). I was under the impression that the reason the nose-pinch test and the digital watch test are so reliable is because they don't rely so heavily on expectation (like the finger through palm reality test). To clarify;
👃The principle behind the nose-pinch test is that your real nose is in bed and is not being held shut. Regardless of your expectations then, the test *should* result in the dreamer being able to breathe still. In my own practice, I don't "expect" anything. I simply pinch my nose and notice if I can breathe. Either I can or I can't. I simply observe the result and how it feels when I do it.
⏰The principle behind the digital clock test is that dreams tend to be unstable, especially clocks. Regardless of whether you "believe" the test will work or not, the numbers on a clock should still act strange or the numbers will change. Daniel mentions often how you should "will" the numbers to change and by thinking of a different time. Is this the same as "expecting" them to change? I'm not sure.
I understand there is not much research into this subject, but I feel this is something worth learning more about as a community. Accurate information in this area of lucid dreaming will obviously influence how we perform our reality checks in waking life. I remember Daniel discussing on a live-stream a while ago about an experiment he did in a lucid dream. He performed the nose-pinch test at different intervals throughout the dream to see how reliable it is. I believe he said that it worked about 80% of the time. I would love to hear more about this and if he experimented with his expectations while he was doing this. For example, did he sometimes attempt to get the test NOT to work to see what would happen? Is it possible to restrict the flow of air in a dream if you attempted to? I haven't personally experimented with this much myself, and I'm looking forward to hearing all of your thoughts and experiences!