Waking and dreaming: Related but structurally independent. Dream reports of congenitally paraplegic and deaf-mute persons

Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Bonn, Germany.
Consciousness and Cognition (Impact Factor: 2.31). 12/2010; 20(3):673-87. DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2010.10.020
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Models of dream analysis either assume a continuum of waking and dreaming or the existence of two dissociated realities. Both approaches rely on different methodology. Whereas continuity models are based on content analysis, discontinuity models use a structural approach. In our study, we applied both methods to test specific hypotheses about continuity or discontinuity. We contrasted dream reports of congenitally deaf-mute and congenitally paraplegic individuals with those of non-handicapped controls. Continuity theory would predict that either the deficit itself or compensatory experiences would surface in the dream narrative. We found that dream form and content of sensorially limited persons was indifferent from those of non-handicapped controls. Surprisingly, perceptual representations, even of modalities not experienced during waking, were quite common in the dream reports of our handicapped subjects. Results are discussed with respect to feedforward mechanisms and protoconsciousness theory of dreaming.

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Available from: Ursula Voss, Sep 27, 2015
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    • "To begin with, studies of lucid dreaming suggest that dream movements continue to be associated with muscle twitches in the respective limbs (LaBerge et al., 1981; Fenwick et al., 1984) as well as with activation of the sensorimotor cortex (Erlacher and Schredl, 2008; Dresler et al., 2011). Moreover, while touch, thermal and pain sensations are only rarely described in dream reports (Hobson, 1988), both lucid and nonlucid dreams do at least occasionally include vivid tactile or even pain sensations (e.g., Voss et al., 2011). This was also the case in at least some of the dreams reported by our participants, who described either varying degrees of ticklishness or other sensations such as pain (cf. "
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    ABSTRACT: The contrast between self- and other-produced tickles, as a special case of sensory attenuation for self-produced actions, has long been a target of empirical research. While in standard wake states it is nearly impossible to tickle oneself, there are interesting exceptions. Notably, subjects awakened from REM (rapid eye movement-) sleep dreams are able to tickle themselves. So far, however, the question of whether it is possible to tickle oneself and be tickled by another in the dream state has not been investigated empirically or addressed from a theoretical perspective. Here, we report the results of an explorative web-based study in which participants were asked to rate their sensations during self-tickling and being tickled during wakefulness, imagination, and lucid dreaming. Our results, though highly preliminary, indicate that in the special case of lucid control dreams, the difference between self-tickling and being tickled by another is obliterated, suggesting that sensory attenuation for self-produced tickles spreads to those produced by non-self dream characters. These preliminary results provide the backdrop for a more general theoretical and metatheoretical discussion of tickling in lucid dreams in a predictive processing framework. We argue that the primary value of our study lies not so much in our results, which are subject to important limitations, but rather in the fact that they enable a new theoretical perspective on the relationship between sensory attenuation, the self-other distinction and agency, as well as suggest new questions for future research. In particular, the example of tickling during lucid dreaming raises the question of whether sensory attenuation and the self-other distinction can be simulated largely independently of external sensory input.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 08/2014; 8. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00717 · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    • "This statement may be partially supported by evidence that congenitally blind people can have visual dreams (Lopes Da Silva, 2003). Similar findings have been demonstrated for congenitally paraplegic and deaf-mute persons, who have dreams with modalities not experienced during waking life (Voss et al., 2011). Therefore, a possible functional dissociation between the waking Self and the dreaming Self [protoself according to Hobson (2009)], should be addressed in future studies. "
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    ABSTRACT: A scientific study of consciousness should take into consideration both objective and subjective measures of conscious experiences. To this date, very few studies have tried to integrate , or data about the neurophysiological correlates of conscious states, with , or data about subjective experience. Inspired by Morel's invention (Casares, 1940), a literary machine capable of reproducing sensory-dependent external reality, this article suggests that combination of virtual reality techniques and brain reading technologies, that is, decoding of conscious states by brain activity alone, can offer this integration. It is also proposed that the multimodal, simulating, and integrative capacities of the dreaming brain render it an "endogenous" Morel's machine, which can potentially be used in studying consciousness, but not always in a reliable way. Both the literary machine and dreaming could contribute to a better understanding of conscious states.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 03/2013; 7:61. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00061 · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    • "The current concerns of the subject may also be found in the content of his/her dreams (Schwartz, 1999; Domhoff and Schneider, 2008), and many aspects of the subject’s daily life were found to influence dream content, including news events (Bulkeley and Kahan, 2008), musical practice (Uga et al., 2006), religious beliefs (Domhoff and Schneider, 2008), chronic pain (Raymond et al., 2002), mood (Cartwright et al., 1998a), or a violent living environment (Valli et al., 2005). By contrast, congenital or acquired malformations do not seem to significantly influence dream content (Voss et al., 2010; Saurat et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Dreaming is still a mystery of human cognition, although it has been studied experimentally for more than a century. Experimental psychology first investigated dream content and frequency. The neuroscientific approach to dreaming arose at the end of the 1950s and soon proposed a physiological substrate of dreaming: rapid eye movement sleep. Fifty years later, this hypothesis was challenged because it could not explain all of the characteristics of dream reports. Therefore, the neurophysiological correlates of dreaming are still unclear, and many questions remain unresolved. Do the representations that constitute the dream emerge randomly from the brain, or do they surface according to certain parameters? Is the organization of the dream's representations chaotic or is it determined by rules? Does dreaming have a meaning? What is/are the function(s) of dreaming? Psychoanalysis provides hypotheses to address these questions. Until now, these hypotheses have received minimal attention in cognitive neuroscience, but the recent development of neuropsychoanalysis brings new hopes of interaction between the two fields. Considering the psychoanalytical perspective in cognitive neuroscience would provide new directions and leads for dream research and would help to achieve a comprehensive understanding of dreaming. Notably, several subjective issues at the core of the psychoanalytic approach, such as the concept of personal meaning, the concept of unconscious episodic memory and the subject's history, are not addressed or considered in cognitive neuroscience. This paper argues that the focus on singularity and personal meaning in psychoanalysis is needed to successfully address these issues in cognitive neuroscience and to progress in the understanding of dreaming and the psyche.
    Frontiers in Psychology 11/2011; 2:286. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00286 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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