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Incorporation of recent waking-life experiences in dreams correlates with frontal theta activity in REM sleep / Jean-Baptiste Eichenlaub; Elaine van Rijn; M Gareth Gaskell; Penelope A Lewis; Emmanuel Maby; Josie Malinowski; Matthew P Walker; Frederic Boy; Mark Blagrove
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Volume: 13, Issue: 6, Pages: 637 - 647
Swansea University Author: Blagrove, Mark
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Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and its main oscillatory feature, frontal theta, have been related to the processing ofrecent emotional memories. As memories constitute much of the source material for our dreams, we explored the linkbetween REM frontal theta and the memory sources of dreaming, so as...
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Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and its main oscillatory feature, frontal theta, have been related to the processing ofrecent emotional memories. As memories constitute much of the source material for our dreams, we explored the linkbetween REM frontal theta and the memory sources of dreaming, so as to elucidate the brain activities behind theformation of dream content. Twenty participants were woken for dream reports in REM and slow wave sleep (SWS) whilemonitored using electroencephalography. Eighteen participants reported at least one REM dream and 14 at least one SWSdream, and they, and independent judges, subsequently compared their dream reports with log records of their previousdaily experiences. The number of references to recent waking-life experiences in REM dreams was positively correlatedwith frontal theta activity in the REM sleep period. No such correlation was observed for older memories, nor for SWSdreams. The emotional intensity of recent waking-life experiences incorporated into dreams was higher than the emotionalintensity of experiences that were not incorporated. These results suggest that the formation of wakefulness-related dreamcontent is associated with REM theta activity, and accords with theories that dreaming reflects emotional memory processingtaking place in REM sleep.
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