Dreaming and insight

Article


Edwards, Christopher L., Ruby, Perrine M., Malinowski, J., Bennett, Paul D. and Blagrove, Mark T. 2013. Dreaming and insight. Frontiers in Psychology. 4 (979).
AuthorsEdwards, Christopher L., Ruby, Perrine M., Malinowski, J., Bennett, Paul D. and Blagrove, Mark T.
Abstract

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.

KeywordsDream, sleep; REM sleep; insight; psychotherapy
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Journal citation4 (979)
ISSN1664-1078
Year2013
PublisherFrontiers Media
Publisher's version
License
CC BY
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00979
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00979
Publication dates
Print24 Dec 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Jul 2017
Copyright information© 2013 Edwards, Ruby, Malinowski, Bennett and Blagrove. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CCBY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
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