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Dreaming and insight / Christopher L. Edwards, Perrine M. Ruby, Josie E. Malinowski, Paul Bennett, Mark Blagrove
Frontiers in Psychology, Volume: 4, Issue: 979
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DOI (Published version): 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00979
This paper addresses claims that dreams can be a source of personal insight. Whereas there has been anecdotal backing for such claims, there is now tangential support from findings of the facilitative effect of sleep on cognitive insight, and of REM sleep in particular on emotional memory consolidat...
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This paper addresses claims that dreams can be a source of personal insight. Whereas there has been anecdotal backing for such claims, there is now tangential support from findings of the facilitative effect of sleep on cognitive insight, and of REM sleep in particular on emotional memory consolidation. Furthermore, the presence in dreams of metaphorical representations of waking life indicates the possibility of novel insight as an emergent feature of such metaphorical mappings. In order to assess whether personal insight can occur as a result of the consideration of dream content, 11 dream group discussion sessions were conducted which followed the Ullman Dream Appreciation technique, one session for each of 11 participants (10 females, 1 male; mean age = 19.2 years). Self-ratings of deepened self-perception and personal gains from participation in the group sessions showed that the Ullman technique is an effective procedure for establishing connections between dream content and recent waking life experiences, although wake life sources were found for only 14% of dream report text. The mean Exploration-Insight score on the Gains from Dream Interpretation questionnaire was very high and comparable to outcomes from the well-established Hill (1996) therapist-led dream interpretation method. This score was associated between-subjects with pre-group positive Attitude Toward Dreams (ATD). The need to distinguish “aha” experiences as a result of discovering a waking life source for part of a dream, from “aha” experiences of personal insight as a result of considering dream content, is discussed. Difficulties are described in designing a control condition to which the dream report condition can be compared.
Authors: Edwards CL, Ruby PM, Malinowski JE, Bennett PD and Blagrove MT
College of Human and Health Sciences