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When Dreams Become a Royal Road to Confusion: Realistic Dreams, Dissociation, and Fantasy Proneness

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Abstract

Scientific discussions about false memories have, so far, mainly focused on external determinants (e.g., therapeutic interventions). However, in some cases, false memories might develop more spontaneously. For example, difficulties in distinguishing between dreams and reality may lead to false memories. The present article discusses two studies (N = 85 and 255, respectively) that examined to what extent such difficulties occur. In both studies, a nontrivial minority of respondents (11.8% and 25.9%, respectively) reported that they had had the experience of not being able to discriminate between dream and reality. As expected, respondents who reported this type of confusion scored higher on fantasy proneness and dissociation measures than respondents who did not report this confusion.

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... Dissociation: nearly two-thirds of people with BPD experience dissociative symptoms (Korzekwa and Pain, 2009) and dissociative symptoms are correlated with a fantasy proneness; both dissociative symptoms and fantasy proneness are related to DRC (Giesbrecht and Merckelbach, 2006). Negative dream content: People with BPD have nightmares more often than other people (Semiz et al., 2008); dreams that are more likely to be confused with reality tend to be more realistic and unpleasant, and are reflected in waking behavior (Rassin et al., 2001). Cognitive disturbances: Many BPD patients experience various cognitive disturbances, including problems with reality testing (Fiqueierdo, 2006;Mosquera et al., 2011), which can foster DRC. ...
... Dream-reality confusion (DRC) is a difficulty or inability to determine whether an event or experience occurred during the waking state or whether it was part of a dream. Although, only few studies on DRC in non-clinical populations have been conducted (e.g., Johnson et al., 1984;Mazzoni and Loftus, 1996;Rassin et al., 2001;Kemp et al., 2003), DRC has been investigated in specific groups, including narcolepsy patients (Wamsley et al., 2014). Research has found that there is a relationship between DRC and psychotic symptoms (e.g., Hempel et al., 2003), but the authors of the present paper have not been able to find any scientific studies on the relationship between DRC and borderline personality disorder (BPD). ...
... It is noteworthy that dissociative symptoms are one of the correlates of DRC (Rassin et al., 2001). Levitan (1967, p. 157) noted that derealization is a compromise between dreaming and waking. ...
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This paper presents an analysis of dream-reality confusion (DRC) in relation to the characteristics of borderline personality disorder (BPD), based on research findings and theoretical considerations. It is hypothesized that people with BPD are more likely to experience DRC compared to people in non-clinical population. Several variables related to this hypothesis were identified through a theoretical analysis of the scientific literature. Sleep disturbances: problems with sleep are found in 15-95.5% of people with BPD (Hafizi, 2013), and unstable sleep and wake cycles, which occur in BPD (Fleischer et al., 2012), are linked to DRC. Dissociation: nearly two-thirds of people with BPD experience dissociative symptoms (Korzekwa and Pain, 2009) and dissociative symptoms are correlated with a fantasy proneness; both dissociative symptoms and fantasy proneness are related to DRC (Giesbrecht and Merckelbach, 2006). Negative dream content: People with BPD have nightmares more often than other people (Semiz et al., 2008); dreams that are more likely to be confused with reality tend to be more realistic and unpleasant, and are reflected in waking behavior (Rassin et al., 2001). Cognitive disturbances: Many BPD patients experience various cognitive disturbances, including problems with reality testing (Fiqueierdo, 2006; Mosquera et al., 2011), which can foster DRC. Thin boundaries: People with thin boundaries are more prone to DRC than people with thick boundaries, and people with BPD tend to have thin boundaries (Hartmann, 2011). The theoretical analysis on the basis of these findings suggests that people who suffer from BPD may be more susceptible to confusing dream content with actual waking events.
... Da Träume wie reale Ereignisse autobiographische Erinnerungen erzeugen, stellt sich die Frage, wie gut es uns gelingt, beide Erinnerungstypen auseinanderzuhalten. Tatsächlich zeigen verschiedene Untersuchungen, dass Erinnerungen an reale und geträumte Ereignisse verwechselt werden können (Johnson, Kahan & Raye, 1984;Kemp, Burt & Sheen, 2003;Mazzoni & Loftus, 1996;Rassin, Merckelbach & Spaan, 2001). Kemp und Burt (2006) befragten Psychologie-Erstsemester nach autobiographischen Erinnerungen unklaren Ursprungs. ...
... Wie bereits erwähnt ist belegt, dass Menschen ihre autobiographischen Erinnerungen nicht immer klar als traumbasiert oder real erlebt einordnen können. (Kemp et al., 2003;Kemp & Burt, 2006;Rassin et al., 2001). Dieses Phänomen wird als Dream-Reality Confusion bezeichnet (Skrzypińska, Hołda, Szmigielska & Słodka, 2018). ...
... Auch die Dissoziationsneigung erscheint bedeutsam (Rassin et al., 2001), wobei Dream-Reality Confusion teilweise gar als dissoziatives Symptom konzipiert wird (Bernstein & Putnam, 1986;Carlson & Putnam, 1993;Vanderlinden et al., 1993 (Skrzypińska et al., 2018). Im Übrigen sind alle genannten Merkmale statistisch mit Symptomen einer Borderline-Persönlichkeitsstörung assoziiert (Skrzypińska & Szmigielska, 2015). ...
Article
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Träume sind eine wichtige Quelle autobiographischer Erinnerung. Als solche scheint in ihnen ein besonderes Potenzial zu liegen, auf dem Wege einer Quellenverwechslung Scheinerinnerungen zu erzeugen. Dennoch wird die mögliche Bedeutung von Trauminhalten als Basis (auto-)suggestiver Prozesse in der Glaubhaftigkeitsbegutachtung kaum systematisch berücksichtigt. Vor dem theoretischen Hintergrund des Reality Monitoring-Modells fasst diese Arbeit den Forschungsstand zur Unterscheidung von Erinnerungen an Träume und reale Ereignisse (Dream-Reality Monitoring) zusammen. Spezielle Beachtung finden die Fragen, (a) anhand welcher Kriterien Erinnerungen an Träume von Erinnerungen an reale Ereignisse unterscheidbar sind, (b) welche Kriterien und Strategien Menschen für diese Unterscheidung tatsächlich nutzen und (c) wie erfolgreich sie dabei sind. Des Weiteren werden Befunde zu relevanten Personenmerkmalen, Entstehungsbedingungen und Besonderheiten im Erinnerungsverlauf dargestellt. Abschließend werden Implikationen und Empfehlungen für die aussagepsychologische Prüfung auf Auto- und Fremdsuggestion abgeleitet.
... When deciding on the reality of a mental representation, people appear to apply criteria like these subconsciously. Hence, unclear imagery is likely to be considered a fantasy, whereas clear mental images are likely to be judged as memories of real events (see Destun & Kuiper, 1999;Dobson & Markham, 1993;Rassin, Merckelbach, & Spaan, 2001;. ...
... Although this system generally functions properly, it is not perfect. Occasionally, people may develop such clear and realistic fantasies that they mistake these for real events (see Destun & Kuiper, 1999;Loftus, 2003;Rassin et al., 2001). By this line of reasoning, it is also possible that people mistake real events for unrealities, because they are unable to produce a clear mental representation of such events. ...
Article
In four experiments, the characteristics of participants' mental imagery of World War II were investigated. In the first experiment, mental images of WWII were found to lack clarity compared to mental images of a Medieval war. In a second experiment, the association between the lack of clarity of WWII mental images, and the underestimation of Nazi cruelties was explored. In line with the expectation based on source monitoring theory, participants whose mental imagery was less clear more readily endorsed an item modelling denial of Nazi cruelties. In a third experiment, these findings were replicated. In experiment 4, participants' WWII mental images were manipulated by means of film footage. Ultimately, it is argued that viewing film footage of poor quality results in unclear mental images of WWII, and that lack of clarity of WWII imagery is associated with a tendency to Nazi cruelties.
... The non-trauma-related position [2,3,7,[11][12][13], also referred to as the sociocognitive model of DID [14][15][16], holds that DID is a simulation caused by high suggestibility and/or fantasy proneness [17][18][19][20][21], suggestive psychotherapy and other suggestive sociocultural influences (e.g., the media and/or the church). According to this model, ' '[t]he rules for enacting the [DID] role […] are as follows: (a) Behave as if you are two (or more) separate people who inhabit the same body. ...
... Thus, relatively speaking, low fantasy prone controls simulated the performance of DID patients better than high fantasy prone controls. This result is the opposite from the direction indicated by holders of the sociocognitive and fantasy based model of DID [17,[19][20][21]46]. As patients and controls were scanned in a highly similar experimental setting and because controls were highly motivated to simulate DID, commonalities in brain activation between patients and controls were expected. ...
... The Barclay and Wellman (1986) findings indicate that even in the absence of such treatment techniques, pseudomemories may occur. Thus, it seems that at least in some participants, pseudo-memories might develop more or less spontaneously (see also Rassin, Merckelbach, & Spaan, 2001). Merckelbach, Wessel and Horselenberg (1997) tried to replicate the study of Barclay and Wellman (1986). ...
... Heaps & Nash, 1999;Paddock et al., 1999). However, with a few exceptions (Candel, Merckelbach, & Kuijpers, 2003;Rassin et al., 2001), little work has been done on spontaneous pseudo-memories and the personality characteristics that might be involved in such memories. The current study relied on the Barclay and Wellman (1986) paradigm to evaluate the contribution of fantasy proneness, dissociation, absorption, suggestibility, and depression to the occurrence of spontaneous pseudo-memories. ...
Article
In recent literature on ‘false memories’, autobiographical memory distortions are often linked to manipulations such as hypnosis or imagination. However, Barclay and Wellman (1986) demonstrated that such distortions might also occur more or less spontaneously. The current study sought to replicate this phenomenon. In addition, it examined whether certain personality traits, (i.e. fantasy proneness, dissociation, absorption, suggestibility and depression) might contribute to such spontaneous pseudo-memories. Volunteers (N = 38) kept a diary of self-selected, outstanding events for a 2-week period. Six months later, they were unexpectedly given a recognition test consisting of original memories and several types of foils. Participants performed relatively well on the recognition task, although they had some difficulties differentiating original items from foil items. Curiously enough, fantasy proneness was related to superior recognition performance. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
... to r = .53. These paradigms have included a staged event followed by highly suggestive misleading questions a week later (Eisen & Carlson, 1998;Eisen, Morgan, & Mickies, 2002); a video of a crime followed by misleading information (Wright & Livingston-Raper, 2002); acceptance of early autobiographical memories using a memory implantation paradigm (Hyman & Billings, 1998;Qin, 1999;Porter, Birt, Yuille, & Lehman, 2000;Wilkinson & Hyman, 1998); repeated imagining of events that did not actually occur (Heaps & Nash, 2001;Paddock et al., 1998); errors in response to misleading questions on the Gudjonsson Scale of Interrogative Suggestibility (Merckelbach, Muris, Rassin, & Horselenberg, 2000;Wolfradt & Meyer, 1998); listening to an aversive story (Candel, Merckelbach, & Kuijpers, 2003); the inability to distinguish dreams and reality (Rassin, Merckelbach, & Spaan, 2001); and the DRM paradigm that involves the (false) recall of words that are not actually presented during the experiment (e.g., sleep) when a list of highly associated words (e.g., dream, bed) is presented to participants (Winograd, Peluso, & Glover, 1998). ...
... It seems plausible that iatrogenic and sociocultural influences often operate on a backdrop of preexisting psychopathology, and exert their impact primarily on individuals who are seeking a causal explanation ("effort after meaning") for their instability, identity problems, impulsiveness, and seemingly inexplicable behaviors. It is possible that fantasy proneness (see Lynn, Rhue, & Green, 1989) and the inability to distinguish reality and dream experiences (Kemp, Burt, & Sheen, 2003;Rassin et al., 2001) also increase vulnerability to DID. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Repression and DissociationReports of Amnesia for Life EventsDissociation, Trauma, and MemorySuggestive Therapeutic TechniquesConcluding Comments and Clinical ImplicationsReferences
... The non-trauma-related position [2,3,7,[11][12][13], also referred to as the sociocognitive model of DID [14][15][16], holds that DID is a simulation caused by high suggestibility and/or fantasy proneness [17][18][19][20][21], suggestive psychotherapy and other suggestive sociocultural influences (e.g., the media and/or the church). According to this model, ' '[t]he rules for enacting the [DID] role […] are as follows: (a) Behave as if you are two (or more) separate people who inhabit the same body. ...
... Thus, relatively speaking, low fantasy prone controls simulated the performance of DID patients better than high fantasy prone controls. This result is the opposite from the direction indicated by holders of the sociocognitive and fantasy based model of DID [17,[19][20][21]46]. As patients and controls were scanned in a highly similar experimental setting and because controls were highly motivated to simulate DID, commonalities in brain activation between patients and controls were expected. ...
Article
Full-text available
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a disputed psychiatric disorder. Research findings and clinical observations suggest that DID involves an authentic mental disorder related to factors such as traumatization and disrupted attachment. A competing view indicates that DID is due to fantasy proneness, suggestibility, suggestion, and role-playing. Here we examine whether dissociative identity state-dependent psychobiological features in DID can be induced in high or low fantasy prone individuals by instructed and motivated role-playing, and suggestion. DID patients, high fantasy prone and low fantasy prone controls were studied in two different types of identity states (neutral and trauma-related) in an autobiographical memory script-driven (neutral or trauma-related) imagery paradigm. The controls were instructed to enact the two DID identity states. Twenty-nine subjects participated in the study: 11 patients with DID, 10 high fantasy prone DID simulating controls, and 8 low fantasy prone DID simulating controls. Autonomic and subjective reactions were obtained. Differences in psychophysiological and neural activation patterns were found between the DID patients and both high and low fantasy prone controls. That is, the identity states in DID were not convincingly enacted by DID simulating controls. Thus, important differences regarding regional cerebral bloodflow and psychophysiological responses for different types of identity states in patients with DID were upheld after controlling for DID simulation. The findings are at odds with the idea that differences among different types of dissociative identity states in DID can be explained by high fantasy proneness, motivated role-enactment, and suggestion. They indicate that DID does not have a sociocultural (e.g., iatrogenic) origin.
... can be even misremembered as genuinely experienced events (Mazzoni & Loftus, 1996). Actually, 76% of students reported having realistic dreams, while 8% of participants stated even acting upon a memory originating from a dream, due to source monitoring errors (Rassin, Merckelbach, & Spaan, 2001). (6) However, according to the VA approach, the proportion of verifiable details, rather than the abundance of non-verifiable information, serves as the main indicator of veracity (Nahari, 2018;Vrij, 2016). ...
Article
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The Verifiability Approach (VA), a lie detection method, postulates that genuine statements contain more verifiable information, whereas fabricated reports include more non-verifiable details. We investigated whether participants low (n ¼ 19), medium (n ¼ 23) and high (n ¼ 26) on fantasy proneness differ in the (non)verifiability of their genuine and fabricated accounts. The results showed that groups did not differ in terms of statements' (non)verifiability. Overall, fabricated accounts included more non-verifiable details, but did not differ in verifiable details from genuine stories. The fabricated accounts from each group were given to legal psychology experts (N ¼ 13) who rated ac-counts' authenticity. Experts more often recognised false accounts from the high fantasy proneness group, hence, high fantasy prone deceivers might be easier to detect than people with lower fantasy engagement. Overall, our results show that the VA is not sensitive to fantasy proneness, however, that experts might be.
... Similar points can be raised about studies relying on dream interpretation or personalized suggestion. The first approach uses dream interpretation as the source of suggestion (e.g., Loftus & Mazzoni, 1998; Rassin, Merckelbach, & Spaan, 2001; see also Pesant & Zadra, 2004). Here, participants are asked to write down their recent dreams, on the basis of which the experimenter provides participants with suggestions about a childhood event that supposedly happened to them. ...
Article
Numerous studies claim to have shown that false memories can be easily created in the laboratory. However, a critical analysis of the methods employed in these studies indicates that many of them do not address memory in the strict sense of the word. Instead, some of these studies assess the confidence that participants have in a fictitious (childhood) event, while others pertain to false beliefs about childhood events. While it is difficult to draw precise demarcation lines, we argue that inflated confidence, false beliefs, and false memories are different phenomena. Keeping the origins of these studies in mind (i.e., people who file lawsuits on the basis of their recovered memories), we propose that a fruitful, but stringent definition of false memories would incorporate their consequences. Thus, we argue that this research domain would profit from studies looking explicitly at whether experimental manipulations intended to implant false memories have overt behavioral consequences.
... Similar points can be raised about studies relying on dream interpretation or personalized suggestion. The first approach uses dream interpretation as the source of suggestion (e.g., Loftus & Mazzoni, 1998;Mazzoni et al., 1999aMazzoni et al., , 1999bRassin, Merckelbach, & Spaan, 2001; see also Pesant & Zadra, 2004). Here, participants are asked to write down their recent dreams, on the basis of which the experimenter provides participants with suggestions about a childhood event that supposedly happened to them. ...
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Proefschrift Maastricht. Lit. opg. - Met een samenvatting in het Nederlands.
... Secondly, studies indicate that frequency of dream reality confusion (DRC) correlates with dissociation measures (Rassin, Merckelbach & Spaan, 2001;Rauschenberger & Lynn, 1995;Waldo & Merritt, 2000). In other words, intrusions of dreams into waking life experiences may potentially be intensified via dissociative symptoms such as derealization, ...
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According to virtual reality dream theory (Hobson & Friston, 2014) while dreaming, brains generate a dream world similar to a virtual reality environment, and this world utilizes the same predictive self/world modelling capacity as that used during wakefulness. The theory proposes that phenomenology of dreaming experience is based on the waking experience, a view widely accepted by dream researchers. In the current research, we argued that individuals with different bodily experiences, eg those with different intensities of dissociative experiences during waking, will report corresponding differences in the profoundness of sensory modality experiences, such as that of somatosensory (i.e., touching in dreams). In order to test this hypothesis, firstly, we developed a novel bodily self-consciousness in dreams questionnaire (BSD-Q), that was completed by 414 participants. The questionnaire measured the intensity of different sensory modality experiences in past dreams. The results showed that a four factor solution explains 64% of the total variance, and yielded sufficient reliability with McDonald’s ω ranging from .62 to .84, and Cronbach’s α ranged from .61 to .84. Along with the BSD-Q, we administered the Dissociation Questionnaire (DIS-Q) (Vanderlinden, Van Dyck, Vandereycken, Vertommen, & Jan Verkes, 1993), which showed a significant positive correlation between the bodily self-consciousness in dreams and dissociative experiences during waking. In conclusion, the results showed that all of the modalities pertain to bodily self-consciousness in dreams and are significantly correlated with waking state dissociative experiences.
... Sleep and the evolvement of dissociation Watson's (2001;2003b) and our finding (chapter 7 to 9) that dissociative symptoms are linked to self-reports of unusual sleep-related experiences (e.g., flying dreams, hypnopompic imagery, sensing the presence of someone else) might offer a fresh perspective on the etiology of dissociative experiences. In another related study, Rassin, Merckelbach, and Spaan (2001) showed that people who find it difficult to discriminate between vivid dreams and reality ("did it really happen or did I only dream?") have raised dissociation scores. Interestingly, McNally and Clancy (2005) recently noted that in their mixed sample of participants with memories of childhood sexual abuse, reports of sleep paralysis were typically found among those with raised dissociation scores. ...
... These "dream delusions" are a special case of memory source confusion, a well-described phenomenon in which the origin of a particular memory is misattributed. 2 The conflation of dream experiences with actual events has previously been described in healthy controls. 18,19 However, in this sample of patients with narcolepsy, the incidence and severity of dream delusions was striking, and far greater than that seen in healthy controls. These observations suggest that something about the pathophysiology of narcolepsy leads to a profound confusion of memory source. ...
Article
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We investigated a generally unappreciated feature of the sleep disorder narcolepsy, in which patients mistake the memory of a dream for a real experience and form sustained delusions about significant events. We interviewed patients with narcolepsy and healthy controls to establish the prevalence of this complaint and identify its predictors. Academic medical centers in Boston, Massachusetts and Leiden, The Netherlands. Patients (n = 46) with a diagnosis of narcolepsy with cataplexy, and age-matched healthy healthy controls (n = 41). N/A. "Dream delusions" were surprisingly common in narcolepsy and were often striking in their severity. As opposed to fleeting hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations of the sleep/wake transition, dream delusions were false memories induced by the experience of a vivid dream, which led to false beliefs that could persist for days or weeks. The delusional confusion of dreamed events with reality is a prominent feature of narcolepsy, and suggests the possibility of source memory deficits in this disorder that have not yet been fully characterized. Wamsley E; Donjacour CE; Scammell TE; Lammers GJ; Stickgold R. Delusional confusion of dreaming and reality in narcolepsy. SLEEP 2014;37(2):419-422.
... An example would be that of therapists who attribute their patients' symptoms to child sexual abuse in the absence of any explicit memory of it, instruct their patients in how to imagine this scenario and accept uncritically any material produced by this procedure. It should be emphasised, however, that false memories do not necessarily require any external influence and may sometimes arise from the spontaneous misinterpretation of internal dreams or images (Brewin, Huntley, & Whalley, 2012;Rassin, Merckelbach, & Spaan, 2001). ...
Article
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Using a framework that distinguishes autobiographical belief, recollective experience, and confidence in memory, we review three major paradigms used to suggest false childhood events to adults: imagination inflation, false feedback and memory implantation. Imagination inflation and false feedback studies increase the belief that a suggested event occurred by a small amount such that events are still thought unlikely to have happened. In memory implantation studies, some recollective experience for the suggested events is induced on average in 47% of participants, but only in 15% are these experiences likely to be rated as full memories. We conclude that susceptibility to false memories of childhood events appears more limited than has been suggested. The data emphasise the complex judgements involved in distinguishing real from imaginary recollections and caution against accepting investigator-based ratings as necessarily corresponding to participants' self-reports. Recommendations are made for presenting the results of these studies in courtroom settings.
... But to what extent do people experience dreams whose recall is so realistic that they can be confused with real perceived events? Two surveys of nonclinical populations investigated this question (Rassin, Merckelbach, & Spaan, 2001). According to their combined and weighted results (n ϭ 340), 76% of the respondents reported that they had experienced at least one dream that was so realistic that they initially believed it had occurred in real life. ...
Article
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The source-monitoring paradigm suggests that dreams could be an important source of naturally occurring false memories. However, the malleability of memories for dreams remains to be investigated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of suggestions on subsequent dream recall. Immediate dream recall collected in a sleep laboratory was compared with long-term recall 1 to 2 weeks later. Standard recall was also compared with hypnotic recall. Suggested elements were reported by 15% of the 26 participants. The hypnotic condition showed no differential effect. It was also found that between 3% and 7% of the dreams reported in long-term recall were probably naturally occurring false memories of dreams. These findings suggest that situations of misinformation can easily elicit false memories of specific dreams.
... Most of us have probably had the experience of having a dream that, at the time it was dreamt, seemed absolutely real. A sizable minority of undergraduate students has even reported the experience of false memories based on the inability to discriminate between perceptually realistic dreams and waking reality [23]. If phenomena such as this are examples of absence, based upon their conceptual nature, then it would seem that an understanding of presence as a subjective psychological state is no longer salient because it is now determined based on objective location of the body, regardless of where the mind is focused. ...
Article
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This paper describes and explores two major opposing perspectives in presence theory. The external/perceptual perspective recognizes presence exclusively as a response to the external environment while the internal/conceptual perspective allows for the influence of mental models in constructing the environment one feels present within. Form, user, style, and content factors are discussed in terms of their relationship to these perspectives and with regard to their function in evoking presence.
... Apart from the tabulated studies, several other researchers have attempted to assess the dissociative status of participants reporting specific unusual sleep experiences. For example, one study showed that people who experience difficulty discriminating between vivid dreams and reality also report heightened dissociation scores (Rassin, Merckelbach, & Spaan, 2001). Moreover, older findings of a positive correlation between individuals' reports of nightmares and their DES scores Levin & Fireman, 2002a) were recently replicated in a study with school-aged children (Agargun et al., in press). ...
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In psychopathology, dissociation typically refers to a disturbance in the normal integration of thoughts, feelings, and experiences into consciousness and memory. In this article, we review the literature on how sleep disturbances relate to dissociative symptoms and memory failure. We contend that this body of research offers a fresh perspective on dissociation. Specifically, we argue that dissociative symptoms are associated with a labile sleep-wake cycle, in which dreamlike mentation invades the waking state, produces memory failures, and fuels dissociative experiences. The research domain of sleep and dissociation can accommodate the dominant idea in the clinical literature that trauma is the distal cause of dissociation, and it holds substantial promise to inspire new treatments for dissociative symptoms (e.g., interventions that focus on normalization of the sleep-wake cycle). We conclude with worthwhile paths for further investigations and suggest that the sleep-dissociation approach may help reconcile competing interpretations of dissociative symptoms. © The Author(s) 2012.
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Watson (2001) reported moderate correlations between the Iowa Sleep Experience Survey (ISES) and self-report measures of dissociation and schizotypy. Subsequent investigations (Fassler, Knox, & Lynn, 2003; Watson, 2003) reported similar, although somewhat more modest, correlations between the ISES and measures of dissociation and schizotypy, as well as with measures of absorption and negative affect. The present study tested subjects in conditions in which the measures of sleep experiences were administered with other measures in either the same (N=86) or a different (N=87) test context. We determined that sleep experiences were associated with measures of dissociation, absorption, and schizotypy. We closely replicated Watson (2001) and found that the ISES correlations with other measures were not affected by the test context. We suggest that Watson's (2001) hypothesized common domain of unusual cognitive and perceptual experiences (e.g., sleep experiences) may be underpinned by common ties to imaginative experiences.
Chapter
Illich (1975) saw the secularisation of life in Western society, a waning of the power of tradition and religion, as an essential pre-condition for this philosophical development. Human suffering, until then accepted and explained as the will of God, had become a problem for scientists to solve, an undesirable condition. Thus a major feature of 20th century Western culture- gathering pace in the last 2 decades- has been the way that medicalised ways of seeing have displaced religion as the source of everyday explanations for the vicissitudes of life, and of the vocabulary of distress. The impact of violence and other morally shocking types of suffering are now framed through the (morally neutral) sciences of memory and psychology (Hacking, 1996). There is nothing quintessential about a particular traumatic experience. The attitudes of wider society (which may change over time) shape what individual victims feel has been done to them and the vocabulary they use to describe this, whether or how they seek help, and their expectations of recovery. The more a society sees, for example, the trauma of rape (which generally refers not to physical trauma but emotional trauma) as a serious risk to the present or future health and well-being of the victim, the more it may turn out to be. In other words, societally constructed ideas about outcomes, which include the pronouncements of the mental health field, carry a measure of self-fulfilling prophecy.
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The present study aimed to devise a parsimonious instrument for evaluating both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of dream experiences and to quantify Chinese people's dream experiences in ways that facilitated cross-cultural comparisons. The Dream Intensity Inventory was developed and administered to 348 Chinese university students. Individual differences in dream recall frequency were observed, with some participants recalling dreams almost every morning whereas others recalled dreams less than once a month. By contrast, the Chinese participants exhibited less diverse dream awareness frequencies. Multiple dreams in a single night and nightmares were found to be prevalent among the Chinese participants. On the other hand, fewer than half of the participants experienced regularly voluntary control over dream activities and consciousness. The factor analyses of the items in the Dream Intensity Inventory resulted in three readily interpreted factors, which were labeled as the "dream quantity," "altered dream episodes," and "dream vividness" subscales, respectively. When compared with men, women participants had higher frequencies of regular dream experiences including dream awareness, nightmares, and multiple dreams, as measured by the dream quantity subscale.
Chapter
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a disputed psychiatric disorder. Research findings and clinical observations suggest that DID involves an authentic mental disorder related to factors such as traumatisation and disrupted attachment. A competing view indicates that DID is due to fantasy proneness, suggestibility, suggestion and role-playing. Here, we investigate whether dissociative identity state-dependent psychobiological features in DID can be induced in high- or low-fantasy-prone individuals by instructed and motivated role-playing and suggestion. Differences in neural activation patterns were found between the DID patients and both high- and low-fantasy-prone controls. That is, the identity states in DID were not convincingly enacted by DID simulating controls. The findings indicate that DID does not have a sociocultural (e.g. iatrogenic) origin.
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Dissociation is often considered to be a psychological defense mechanism used by victims of traumatic events (e. g., sexual abuse, physical punishment, or emotional abuse). Evidence for this view comes from studies that found a connection between self-reported traumatic childhood experiences and high levels of dissociation. However, there are some problems with this causal interpretation. The aim of this review is to summarize evidence that casts doubts on the commonly voiced view that the connection between self-reported trauma and dissociation is a simple and robust one. First, we briefly summarize studies that looked at the link between trauma and dissociation as well as studies that identified factors that may modulate this link. Second, we review studies that explored the psychological correlates of dissociation. Over the past few years, our knowledge of these correlates has increased considerably. Some of these correlates (e. g., fantasy proneness, suggestibility, and frontal lobe dysfunction) are especially relevant because they may undermine the accuracy of retrospective self-reports of trauma. Finally, we conclude that the link between trauma and dissociation is more complex than many clinicians seem to assume. In particular, the possibility that dissociation acts as an antecedent of self-reported trauma warrants serious attention.
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A dissociative taxon has been proposed by Waller et al. (1996) to help identify individuals experiencing pathological dissociation. We studied the frequency of taxon membership and tested its validity. A total of 276 students and 204 psychiatric inpatients completed the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES). In patients with higher DES ratings, the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule was administered. Taxon classification applied to 2.9% of non-patients and to 12.7% of patients. No statistically significant relationship was found between taxon membership and the clinical diagnosis of a dissociative disorder. Taxon membership indicates a higher frequency of dissociative experiences but cannot be equated with the presence of a dissociative disorder.
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People who report either repressed or recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) may have deficits in reality monitoring--the process whereby one discriminates memories of percepts from memories of images. Using signal detection methods, the authors found that adults reporting either repressed or recovered memories of CSA were less able to discriminate between words they had seen from words they had imagined seeing than were adults reporting either never having forgotten their CSA or adults reporting no history of CSA. Relative deficits in the ability to discriminate percepts from images (i.e., low d') were apparent on only some tests. The groups did not differ in their criterion--response bias--for affirming having seen versus imagined stimuli.
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The term "false memories" has been used to refer to suggestibility experiments in which whole events are apparently confabulated and in media accounts of contested memories of childhood abuse. Since 1992 psychologists have increasingly used the term "false memory" when discussing memory errors for details, such as specific words within lists. Use of the term to refer to errors in details is a shift in language away from other terms used historically (e.g., "memory intrusions"). We empirically examine this shift in language and discuss implications of the new use of the term "false memories." Use of the term presents serious ethical challenges to the data-interpretation process by encouraging over-generalization and misapplication of research findings on word memory to social issues.
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Although not included in the classic tetrad of symptoms, nocturnal dream experience shows a number of abnormalities in narcolepsy patients. While some of these are benign, others rise to the level of a significant complaint that can impair a patients’ daily functioning. For example, patients with narcolepsy are prone to suffer from nightmares, have uncomfortably intense dream experience, and, perhaps most pathologically, are often troubled by a confusion in which dreamed events are mistaken for reality. While all of these experiences occur in the general population, their incidence and severity is pronounced in narcolepsy. Some of these dream-related experiences may be traced to well-described sleep abnormalities in narcolepsy, including fragmented nighttime sleep and fragmented, early-onset REM periods. Understanding the unique qualities of dreaming in narcolepsy provides a more complete picture of the symptom profile and may additionally offer insight into disruptions of underlying sleep neurophysiology.
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Forty-six nonclinical subjects reported on their childhood experiences on two occasions, separated by 3–4 weeks. between these sessions, some subjects were exposed to a 30-min therapy simulation in which their dream material was analyzed by a clinical psychologist. He suggested to subjects that their dreams were indicative of having experienced, before the age of three, certain critical experiences (e.g., being lost in a public place or feeling abandoned by parents). Subjects previously reported that these critical events had not occurred. The brief therapy simulation led them to dramatic shifts in belief that the experiences had occurred. These results show that brief therapy-like interactions can change people's beliefs about the past, and have implications for the power of clinical intervention. Dream interpretation, commonly practiced in psychotherapy to guide patient's understanding of themselves, may have unexpected side effects if it leads to beliefs about the past that may in fact be false. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations are common in narcolepsy. However, the prevalence of these phenomena in the general population is uncertain. A representative community sample of 4972 people in the UK, aged 15-100, was interviewed by telephone (79.6% of those contacted). Interviews were performed by lay interviewers using a computerised system that guided the interviewer through the interview process. Thirty-seven per cent of the sample reported experiencing hypnagogic hallucinations and 12.5% reported hypnopompic hallucinations. Both types of hallucinations were significantly more common among subjects with symptoms of insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness or mental disorders. According to this study, the prevalence of narcolepsy in the UK is 0.04%. Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations were much more common than expected, with a prevalence that far exceeds that which can be explained by the association with narcolepsy. Hypnopompic hallucinations may be a better indicator of narcolepsy than hypnagogic hallucinations in subjects reporting excessive daytime sleepiness.
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We investigated if college students will create false childhood memories, the role of self-knowledge in memory creation, and if there are reliable individual differences related to memory creation. Based on information obtained from parents, we asked college students about several true childhood experiences. We also asked each student about one false event and presented the false event as if it was based on parent information. We asked the students to describe all events in two interviews separated by one day. When participants could not recall an event (whether true or false), we encouraged them to think about related self-knowledge and to try to imagine the event. In an unrelated experimental session, the students were administered four cognitive/personality scales: the Creative Imagination Scale (CIS), the Tellegen Absorption Scale (TAS), the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES), and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (SDS). We found that approximately 25% of the students created false childhood memories. Participants who made connections to related self-knowledge in the first interview were more likely to create false memories. We also found that the CIS and the DES were positively related to memory creation. Factors that decrease one's ability to engage in reality monitoring are related to the acceptance of false events and the creation of false memories.
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This volume, a sequel to The Psychology of Interrogations, Confessions and Testimony which is widely acclaimed by both scientists and practitioners, brings the field completely up-to-date and focuses in particular on aspects of vulnerability, confabulation and false confessions. The is an unrivalled integration of scientific knowledge of the psychological processes and research relating to interrogation, with the practical investigative and legal issues that bear upon obtaining, and using in court, evidence from interrogations of suspects. Accessible style which will appeal to academics, students and practitioners. Authoritative integration of theory, research, practical implications and vivid case illustration. Coverage of topical issues like confabulation, false memory, and false confessions. Part of the Wiley Series in The Psychology of Crime, Policing and Law.
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Psychology has had some success in describing personality differences, but the picture often appears incomplete, and it has been hard to find links between personality and the organization of the brain. This book proposes a broad and eminently useful new way of looking at individual differences. "Boundaries," according to Ernest Hartmann, pervade our lives: they separate inner from outer experience, past from present, sleeping from waking. The concept applies to both normal and abnormal behavior, to relationships, attitudes, states of mind and body. Boundaries may be a function of the biology of the brain. Do your thoughts and feelings blend into one another? Do you like stories that have a definite beginning, middle, and end? Do you believe that "beauty is subjective"? Renowned psychiatrist Ernest Hartmann argues that the answers to questions like these reveal whether you have "thin" or "thick" boundaries and can tell more about your personality than more conventional psychological measures. People with thin boundaries slide easily from one feeling to another; they are both more vulnerable and more open to new ideas. People with thick boundaries, on the other hand, tend not to merge in relationships. Hartmann uses vivid case histories and an in-depth questionnaire to explore the connection between boundaries and such things as age, gender, creativity, madness, and job choice. The book explains how boundary types originate, how and why they may change, and how an understanding of this concept can help us better understand and control our emotional lives. "Boundaries in the Mind" is a fascinating scientific tool that sheds fresh light on our relationships and why we behave the way we do. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The theory that psychosis and dreaming share some common underlying mechanism finds support in the observation that chronic nightmare sufferers are at increased risk for psychopathology. This connection was examined in 204 participants (aged 14–51 yrs). Ss were administered a battery of psychosis proneness and other personality scales, together with a nightmare distress scale; they also answered a single question on pleasurable mood associated with dreaming. In addition, Ss completed the Bem Sex Role Inventory, to reinvestigate previously observed gender differences in nightmare susceptibility. It was found that, among the psychosis proneness scales, the best predictor of nightmare distress was Schizotypal Personality, a mostly cognitive measure of schizotypy; this was true even after allowing for a strong influence in the data of general neuroticism. Other aspects of psychosis proneness were unrelated to nightmares. However, sex and sex role differences did make a significant contribution, with self-confessed feminine females and masculine males reporting, respectively, the highest and lowest nightmare distress. It is concluded that a unifying theme explaining the data is the schizotype's greater imaginativeness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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"Multiple Identities and False Memories" presents a . . . critique of the assumed connection between multiple personality disorder (MPD), now classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV) as dissociative identity disorder, and the recovery of repressed memories of childhood physical and sexual abuse. Spanos argues that MPD is not a naturally occurring mental disorder but rather a social construct that exists in a particular cultural and historical framework. Spanos contends in this volume that current concepts of MPD are tied to inaccurate "altered state" theories of hypnosis. He provides a critical exploration of the nature of memory and defines the relationships among MPD, hypnosis, and childhood memory repression and recovery. This book examines the complex issues surrounding the reported recovery of memories of abuse during therapy, as well as the role of the therapist in the generation and maintenance of MPD. Spanos also posits that parallels can be drawn between MPD and a number of historical and sociocultural phenomena such as demonic possession, witchcraft, glossolalia, and hysteria. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
In two studies, the connection between dissociative experiences as measured by the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) and memory distortions was examined. In the first study, DES scores of female students (N=42) were not found to be related to reality monitoring failures. There was, however, a significant association between DES and false positive memory failures, suggesting a response bias in participants scoring high on the DES. In the second study, students (N=70) completed the DES, a measure of fantasy proneness, and the Life Events Inventory (LEI). The LEI lists a large number of discrete events and requires respondents to indicate whether these events have happened to them before the age of 10. A positive connection between DES and LEI was found, such that higher DES scores were accompanied by more positive answers to the LEI. The connection between DES and positive response tendencies to LEI items was evident for both neutral and negative items and was carried by fantasy proneness. Taken together, the data indicate that high DES scores are related to a positive response bias tendency. This may have substantial implications for retrospective studies that attempt to link high DES scores to traumatic antecedents.
Article
The current article describes the psychometric qualities of the Creative Experiences Questionnaire (CEQ), a brief 25-item self-report measure of fantasy proneness. Findings indicate that the CEQ demonstrates adequate test-retest stability and internal consistency. CEQ scores appear not to be related to social desirability. The CEQ was found to be strongly correlated with a concurrent measure of fantasy proneness. Furthermore, there are substantial correlations between the CEQ and standard measures of absorption, schizotypy, and dissociation. Bearing in mind that these constructs are thought to be intimately linked to fantasy proneness, this pattern of correlations supports the validity of the CEQ. The CEQ might be fruitfully used as a brief research scale in several domains (e.g. studies on pseudomemories).
Article
The Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) is a widely used instrument for screening dissociative psychopathology. Yet, some authors have argued that dissociation is a poorly defined concept and that the experiences tapped by the DES may well be related to everyday cognitive failures and/or fantasy proneness. To examine this issue, two independent studies were conducted. In study 1, a sample of 77 undergraduate students completed the DES, the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ) and a fantasy proneness scale (i.e. the Creative Experiences Questionnaire; CEQ). Positive and significant correlations were found between DES, on the one hand, and CFQ and CEQ, on the other hand. Partial correlations showed that both CFQ and CEQ make an unique contribution in predicting DES scores. These findings were replicated in study 2 that also relied on a nonclinical sample (N=51). Taken together, the findings of study 1 and 2 underline the idea that relatively benign phenomena such as cognitive lapses and fantasy proneness drive the dissociative experiences sampled by the DES. This suggests that there are limitations to the DES's utility as a screening tool for dissociative pathology.
Article
We describe three patients, all meeting DSM-III-R criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), whose vivid, intrusive obsessional images had been diagnosed by previous treatment personnel as "flashbacks" of repressed childhood trauma. All three patients had been urged to engage in psychotherapy to "uncover" their putative repressed memories. However, serotonin reuptake antagonists produced prompt remission of the images and the associated obsessional and compulsive symptoms in all cases. It may be that in some patients, so-called flashbacks instead represent the very common obsessional images of OCD.
Article
A framework for understanding source monitoring and relevant empirical evidence is described, and several related phenomena are discussed: old-new recognition, indirect tests, eyewitness testimony, misattributed familiarity, cryptomnesia, and incorporation of fiction into fact. Disruptions in source monitoring (e.g., from confabulation, amnesia, and aging) and the brain regions that are involved are also considered, and source monitoring within a general memory architecture is discussed. It is argued that source monitoring is based on qualities of experience resulting from combinations of perceptual and reflective processes, usually requires relatively differentiated phenomenal experience, and involves attributions varying in deliberateness. These judgments evaluate information according to flexible criteria and are subject to error and disruption. Furthermore, diencephalic and temporal regions may play different roles in source monitoring than do frontal regions of the brain.
Article
In three experiments, we found that after a subtle suggestion, subjects falsely recognized words from their own dreams and thought they had been presented during the waking state. The procedure used in these studies involved three phases. Subjects studied a list of words on Day 1. On Day 2, they received a false suggestion that some words from their previously reported dreams had been presented on the list. On Day 3, they tried to recall only what had occurred on the initial list. Subjects falsely recognized their dream words at a very high rate-sometimes as often as they accurately recognized true words. They reported that they genuinely "remembered" the dream words, as opposed to simply "knowing" that they had been previously presented. These findings, which suggest that dreams can sometimes be mistaken for reality, have significant implications for the practice of psychotherapy.
Article
Previous research has noted a robust correlation between dissociation and schizophrenia-like symptoms. One way to interpret the relationship between dissociation and schizotypy is to assume that it is an artifact of fantasy proneness. In the present study, 152 undergraduates completed measures of dissociation, schizotypy, and fantasy proneness. Dissociative tendencies were found to be related to the full range of schizotypal features. Regression analysis showed that schizotypy still contributed to the prediction of dissociative tendencies when variance related to fantasy proneness was extracted. These results indicate that the close connection between dissociation and schizotypy cannot be interpreted in terms of an artifact produced by fantasy proneness. Thus, the overlap between dissociation and schizotypy warrants systematic study.
Dissociation, schizo-typy, and fantasy proneness in undergraduate students Hyp-nagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations: Pathological phe-nomena?
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