Article

False awakenings in light of the dream protoconsciousness theory: A study in lucid dreamers

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

The results of a web-survey aimed at analyzing the phenomenology of False Awakenings (FAs) (sleep-related experiences in which the subjects erroneously believe that they have woken up, only to discover subsequently that the apparent awakening was part of a dream) were revised in light of Hobson's recent dream protoconsciousness theory. A web-questionnaire had been previously submitted to three web-sites dedicated to lucid dreamers, a kind of subjects in which FAs have been reported to occur with high frequency. Ninety subjects submitted complete forms within an established two-months period. All the respondents were habitual lucid dreamers, 41% reported experiencing FAs at least monthly, 79% had experienced a FA in the last month and 46% in the last week. Some stereotyped dream patterns were found to recur repeatedly in FAs, including representations of normal awakenings, start-of-the-day routines and other realistically depicted activities (exploring, wandering) within the sleep environment. This finding is consistent with Hobson's hypothesis that dream content feeds itself from innate schemes, enacted on the basis of subjective experiential memories. A possible evolutionary interpretation of FAs is proposed.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... The specific case of false awakenings, which were very frequent in our study, is also consistent with the suggestion that LIDs are influenced by heightened REM sleep arousal. False awakenings were suggested to be a hyper-aroused REM sleep state [48], as recently evidenced by spectral EEG analysis [49]. Moreover, false awakenings frequently occur in association with lucid dreams [48,[50][51][52][53] and sleep paralysis [50,53] both of which have also been proposed to be highly aroused, hybrid states with features of both REM sleep and waking [54,55]. ...
... False awakenings were suggested to be a hyper-aroused REM sleep state [48], as recently evidenced by spectral EEG analysis [49]. Moreover, false awakenings frequently occur in association with lucid dreams [48,[50][51][52][53] and sleep paralysis [50,53] both of which have also been proposed to be highly aroused, hybrid states with features of both REM sleep and waking [54,55]. ...
... These future-oriented episodes also frequently included spatial-exploratory behavior in and around the sleep lab-possibly pointing to the simultaneous activation of both spatial and temporal hippocampal processes. Such concatenations of temporal and spatial features were previously identified as one typical scenario characterizing false awakenings [48] and further supports the implication of hippocampal organizing pressures in dream formation. Other research showing that stimulus-independent mentation, such as dreaming and mind-wandering, is especially likely to be about the future [67,68] is consistent with the purported prospective or future-oriented function attributed to offline states [69][70][71][72][73]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The phenomenon of dreaming about the laboratory when participating in a sleep study is common. The content of such dreams draws upon episodic memory fragments of the participant’s lab experience, generally, experimenters, electrodes, the lab setting, and experimental tasks. However, as common as such dreams are, they have rarely been given a thorough quantitative or qualitative treatment. Here we assessed 528 dreams (N = 343 participants) collected in a Montreal sleep lab to 1) evaluate state and trait factors related to such dreams, and 2) investigate the phenomenology of lab incorporations using a new scoring system. Lab incorporations occurred in over a third (35.8%) of all dreams and were especially likely to occur in REM sleep (44.2%) or from morning naps (48.4%). They tended to be related to higher depression scores, but not to sex, nightmare-proneness or anxiety. Common themes associated with lab incorporation were: Meta-dreaming , including lucid dreams and false awakenings (40.7%), Sensory incorporations (27%), Wayfinding to, from or within the lab (24.3%), Sleep as performance (19.6%), Friends/Family in the lab (15.9%) and Being an object of observation (12.2%). Finally, 31.7% of the lab incorporation dreams included relative projections into a near future (e.g., the experiment having been completed), but very few projections into the past (2.6%). Results clarify sleep stage and sleep timing factors associated with dreamed lab incorporations. Phenomenological findings further reveal both the typical and unique ways in which lab memory elements are incorporated de novo into dreaming. Identified themes point to frequent social and skillful dream scenarios that entail monitoring of one’s current state (in the lab) and projection of the self into dream environments elaborated around local space and time. The findings have implications for understanding fundamental dream formation mechanisms but also for appreciating both the advantages and methodological pitfalls of conducting laboratory-based dream collection.
... 6 Sleep paralysis may sometimes be linked to false awakening, 1 a state characterized by the perception of waking up in a familiar place and starting a normal daytime routine, only to later discover of having been trapped in one's own dream or to realize of having dreamt. 9,10 This state may also be referred to as a "dreamed" awakening. Only one report describes the polysomnography features of a SOREMP hallucination without 6 sleep paralysis, 11 later referred to as a false awakening by other authors. ...
... Only one report describes the polysomnography features of a SOREMP hallucination without 6 sleep paralysis, 11 later referred to as a false awakening by other authors. 9 We incidentally had the opportunity to monitor during polysomnography five episodes of sleep paralysis, one of which continued into a false awakening, as well as an episode of isolated false awakening, and to better characterize the associated EEG pattern. ...
... Clinical and neurophysiological descriptions of false awakenings are scarce. The single report by Takeuchi et al., 11 later considered as a false awakening by other authors, 9 depicts an hypnagogic hallucination of unpleasant and fearful feeling of presence in the sleep laboratory with the perception of having rose from the bed. The polysomnography showed abundant trains of alpha rhythm on the EEG, sometimes blocked by REMs mixed with slow eye movements and low muscle tone. ...
Article
Full-text available
Study objectives: To determine the polysomnography characteristics during sleep paralysis, false awakenings and lucid dreaming (which are states intermediate to REM sleep and wake but exceptionally observed in sleep laboratory). Methods: In 5 subjects, we captured 5 episodes of sleep paralysis (2 time-marked with the ocular left-right-left-right code normally used to signal lucid dreaming, 1 time-marked by an external noise and 2 retrospectively reported) and 2 episodes of false awakening. The sleep coding (using three seconds mini-epochs) and spectral EEG analysis were compared during these episodes and normal REM sleep as well as wakefulness in the same four among these five subjects, and vs. lucid REM sleep in four other patients with narcolepsy. Results: During episodes of sleep paralysis, 70.8 % of mini-epochs contained theta EEG rhythm, (vs. 89.7% in REM sleep and 21.2% in wakefulness), 93.8% contained chin muscle atonia (vs. 89.7% in REM sleep and 33.3% in wakefulness) and 6.9% contained rapid eye movements (vs. 11.9% in REM sleep and 8.1% in wakefulness). The EEG spectrum during sleep paralysis was intermediate between wakefulness and REM sleep in the alpha, theta and delta frequencies, whereas the beta frequencies were not different between sleep paralysis and normal REM sleep. The power spectrum during false awakening followed the same profile as in sleep paralysis. Conclusions: The predominant theta EEG rhythm during sleep paralysis and false awakenings (with rare and lower alpha rhythm) suggests that the brain during sleep paralysis is not in an awake but in a dreaming state.
... False awakenings, for example, in which I believe I have woken up despite still dreaming, would not necessarily contradict any waking beliefs. False awakenings often faithfully replicate the dreamer's real surroundings (Buzzi 2011). Thus, even if Sosa and Ickiwaka's rejection of wide-scale amnesia holds, this does not necessarily discount the potential for believing, for example, that we are waking up when we are only dreaming that we are waking up. ...
... The objects in the dream do not constantly wander around, and in some dreams, such as convincing false awakenings, temporal discontinuities are typically reduced or absent. We can even be convinced that the dream was real for a time after waking (Buzzi 2011;Cheyne 2004). ...
... Special focus should also be paid to false awakenings, as they can be particularly convincing replicas of the waking world. Despite the theoretical implications of such dreams, little work has been done to assess their phenomenology (Buzzi 2011). It would be worthwhile for trained participants to reflect on the nature and realism of the experience. ...
Article
Full-text available
Our eyes, bodies, and perspectives are constantly shifting as we observe the world. Despite this, we are very good at distinguishing between self-caused visual changes and changes in the environment: the world appears mostly stable despite our visual field moving around. This, it seems, also occurs when we are dreaming. As we visually investigate the dream environment, we track moving objects with our dream eyes, examine objects, and shift focus. These movements, research suggests, are reflected in the rapid movements or saccades of our sleeping eyes. Do we really see the dream world in the same way that we see the real world? If we do, how could dreaming, usually assumed to be mind-generated hallucinations, replicate such an experience? This problem would be deflated if dreams are not hallucinations at all, but rather imagination, illusion or simply unrealistic. I argue that imagination and illusion views do not satisfactorily explain away the problem of vision and action in sleep. The imagination model is not a complete description of dreaming that is consistent with empirical research, and it is unlikely that the visual dream world is an illusion. Given that the dreaming visual experience is most likely active, hallucinatory, and at times a realistic world simulation, there are important implications for our understanding of visual perception and its relationship to movement. Evidence suggests that our dream eyes investigate the dream world as our waking eyes investigate the waking world. If changes to the unconsciously generated dream environment are perceived as external and unintentional while dream body movements are perceived as self-generated and intentional, current theory of visual perception may have to be expanded to account for how the dreaming mind generates a stable world in which we track and visually explore mind-generated objects.
... Several studies have reported an association of lucid dreams with false awakenings (FAs; Buzzi, 2011;Green, 1968;Green & McCreery, 1994;Hearne, 1983a;La Berge & DeGracia, 2000) -sleep-related experiences in which the subjects erroneously believe that they have woken up, only to discover subsequently that the apparent awakening was part of a dream. Buzzi (2011) have argued that like lucid dreams, FAs are also a hybrid state of consciousness with definable differences from waking and from REM sleep, and that the onset of FAs is connected to activation levels of some frontal brain areas along the "A"-axis of the AIM model. ...
... Several studies have reported an association of lucid dreams with false awakenings (FAs; Buzzi, 2011;Green, 1968;Green & McCreery, 1994;Hearne, 1983a;La Berge & DeGracia, 2000) -sleep-related experiences in which the subjects erroneously believe that they have woken up, only to discover subsequently that the apparent awakening was part of a dream. Buzzi (2011) have argued that like lucid dreams, FAs are also a hybrid state of consciousness with definable differences from waking and from REM sleep, and that the onset of FAs is connected to activation levels of some frontal brain areas along the "A"-axis of the AIM model. Thus, the AIM model accommodates these features by proposing that both LD and FAs are hybrid states lying across the wake-REM interface. ...
... For attributes of secondary consciousness like self-reflection, insight, judgment or abstract thought to be present, activity in the requisite cortical structures must be modulated appropriately as we wake up or dream lucidly. Analyzing the phenomenology of false awakenings, Buzzi (2011) found that false awakenings are consistent with Hobson's hypothesis of dream protoconsciousness, as dream content feeds itself from innate schemes, enacted on the basis of subjective experiental memories. ...
Article
Full-text available
The present review gives an overview on common theories of dreaming with a specific emphasis on how they are able to explain lucid dreaming. The theories are grouped either to such that describe structural or biological processes of dreams or to such that describe evolutionary and adaptive functions of dreams. This overview shows that none of the theories outlined is fully capable of explaining neither non-lucid dreaming nor lucid dreaming. With respect to the first group, the concept of “protoconsciousness” is the theory that at best explains lucid dreaming. With respect to theories with an evolutionary and adaptive function of dreams, those theories, that stress the problem solving or simulation functions of dreams are more suited to explain lucid dreaming. Further, aspects that induce or amplify lucidity and the neural mechanisms that may be involved in lucid dreaming are described.
... Several studies have reported an association of lucid dreams with false awakenings (FAs; Buzzi, 2011;Green, 1968;Green & McCreery, 1994;Hearne, 1983a;La Berge & DeGracia, 2000) -sleep-related experiences in which the subjects erroneously believe that they have woken up, only to discover subsequently that the apparent awakening was part of a dream. Buzzi (2011) have argued that like lucid dreams, FAs are also a hybrid state of consciousness with definable differences from waking and from REM sleep, and that the onset of FAs is connected to activation levels of some frontal brain areas along the "A"-axis of the AIM model. ...
... Several studies have reported an association of lucid dreams with false awakenings (FAs; Buzzi, 2011;Green, 1968;Green & McCreery, 1994;Hearne, 1983a;La Berge & DeGracia, 2000) -sleep-related experiences in which the subjects erroneously believe that they have woken up, only to discover subsequently that the apparent awakening was part of a dream. Buzzi (2011) have argued that like lucid dreams, FAs are also a hybrid state of consciousness with definable differences from waking and from REM sleep, and that the onset of FAs is connected to activation levels of some frontal brain areas along the "A"-axis of the AIM model. Thus, the AIM model accommodates these features by proposing that both LD and FAs are hybrid states lying across the wake-REM interface. ...
... For attributes of secondary consciousness like self-reflection, insight, judgment or abstract thought to be present, activity in the requisite cortical structures must be modulated appropriately as we wake up or dream lucidly. Analyzing the phenomenology of false awakenings, Buzzi (2011) found that false awakenings are consistent with Hobson's hypothesis of dream protoconsciousness, as dream content feeds itself from innate schemes, enacted on the basis of subjective experiental memories. ...
Research
Full-text available
The present review gives an overview on common theories of dreaming with a specific emphasis on how they are able to explain lucid dreaming. The theories are grouped either to such that describe structural or biological processes of dreams or to such that describe evolutionary and adaptive functions of dreams. This overview shows that none of the theories outlined is fully capable of explaining neither non-lucid dreaming nor lucid dreaming. With respect to the first group, the concept of “protoconsciousness” is the theory that at best explains lucid dreaming. With respect to theories with an evolutionary and adaptive function of dreams, those theories, that stress the problem solving or simulation functions of dreams are more suited to explain lucid dreaming. Further, aspects that induce or amplify lucidity and the neural mechanisms that may be involved in lucid dreaming are described.
... Some dreams, both lucid and non-lucid, are mundane, involving normal activities and non-morphing surroundings such as picking up and biting apple (Domhoff 2007), as I discuss in more detail in the following. In false awakenings, the dreamworld can accurately resemble my bedroom (Buzzi 2011;Green and McCreery 1994;Windt and Metzinger 2007). What exactly counts as a vivid experience? ...
... I discuss lucid dreams in the following section. False awakenings, in which the dreamer believes they have woken up, can be so realistic that upon truly waking, the dreamer is unsure whether they were just dreaming (Buzzi 2011;Stumbrys et al. 2014). Pre-lucidity, a state in which the dreamer contemplates whether or not they are dreaming, sometimes ends in the dreamer concluding that this is in fact reality (Dresler et al. 2014;Green and McCreery 1994;McCreery 2008). ...
Article
Full-text available
When we dream, it is often assumed, we are isolated from the external environment. It is also commonly believed that dreams can be, at times, accurate, convincing replicas of waking experience. Here I analyse some of the implications of this view for an enactive theory of conscious experience. If dreams are, as described by the received view, “inactive”, or “cranially envatted” whilst replicating the experience of being awake, this would be problematic for certain extended conscious mind theories. Focusing specifically on Alva Noë’s enactive view, according to which the vehicles of perceptual experience extend beyond the brain, I argue that dreams are a quandary. Noë’s view is that dreaming is consistent with enactivism because even if dreams are inactive and shut off from the external environment, they are not “full-blown” perceptual consciousness, and also, there is some reason to reject the inactive claim. However, this view rests on an unjustified and reductive account of dreams which is not supported by empirical evidence. Dreams can indeed replicate waking phenomenal experience during inactive periods of sleep, and we have no reason to suspect that dreams which are more inactive are less “full-blown”. Taken together, this shows that dreams are indeed relevant to extended conscious mind theories and need to be taken into account by enactivists.
... Realistic 'false awakenings' are also a convincing example of how the dream world can replicate waking experience. They can be so realistic that the dreamer is unsure whether they had been dreaming after waking (Buzzi, 2011). Such false awakenings can quite accurately replicate the details of the real bedroom (McCreery, 2008). ...
Article
The conscious experiences we have during sleep have the potential to improve our empathetic response to those who experience delusions and psychosis by supplying a virtual reality simulation of mental illness. Empathy for those with mental illness is lacking and there has been little improvement in the last decades despite efforts made to increase awareness. Our lack of empathy, in this case, may be due to an inability to accurately mentally simulate what it’s like to have a particular cognitive disorder. Dreaming can help mitigate these deficits by placing the dreamer directly into a realistic virtual simulation and thus increase their capacity for empathy. Increasing empathy would go some way towards reducing the stigma and discrimination faced by people in this group. Recent work suggests that virtual reality can increase empathy towards a variety of marginalised groups, however, this technology is limited in its ability to simulate mental illnesses such as delusions. Dreams, however, are at times virtual reality delusion simulators. They can replicate, to a reasonable degree, delusions and psychosis, and through these experiences, we can learn ‘what it’s like’ to have these conditions. It is essential that we recognise these experiences for what they are, attempt to remember and reflect on them. Instead of disregarding dreams due to their unusualness and bizarreness, we can learn from these experiences and expand our understanding of the human condition and its many forms.
... Thus, it is possible to wake up deliberately, to influence the action of the dream actively or to observe the course of the dream passively" (Stumbrys et al., 2013a); "Nightmares are dreams with strong negative emotions that result in awakening. The action of the dream can be remembered well upon awakening" (Schredl, 2013); "A lucid nightmare is a dream with strong negative emotions in which the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming but is unable to change the terrifying plot of the dream and is unable to deliberately wake up from it" (Stumbrys, 2018); "False awakenings are sleep-related experiences in which the subjects erroneously believe that they have woken up, only to discover subsequently that the apparent awakening was part of a dream" (Buzzi, 2011); Sleep paralysis: "Just prior to falling asleep or upon awakening you were unable to move. At this moment you were conscious of your surroundings (e.g., room). ...
Article
Lucid dreams—dreams in which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming—are generally positive and empowering experiences, for which a variety of benefits have been demonstrated, for example, alleviating nightmares and insomnia, improving motor skills, contributing to creativity and personal growth. Recently, however, certain concerns were raised about the possible risks of lucid dreaming on sleep and health. This study aimed to explore three potential domains of adverse effects—sleep quality, dissociation, and mental well-being—as well as to capture any self-observed negative consequences of lucid dreams within an online sample (N = 489) in which the majority of respondents (94%) were lucid dreamers. According to the results, lucid dream frequency was not associated with poorer sleep quality or with greater dissociation but was linked to greater mental well-being. Moreover, most of the lucid dreams were reported to be emotionally positive experiences and the majority of lucid dreamers did not ascribe any negative consequences to lucid dreaming. Thus, at least from the present findings, the experience of lucid dreaming does not seem to exert evident detrimental effects, although a small proportion of lucid dreams (about 10%) were negatively toned. However, to establish causal relationships future longitudinal studies are needed.
... False awakenings, in which the dreamer dreams they have woken up, can often be mistaken for reality even after the dreamer has in fact woken up. Individuals may not immediately know whether their experience was a dream or a real awakening (Buzzi 2011). The view that an 'in the dream operator' (Ichikawa 2009) entails that all occurrences, even thoughts and beliefs that occur in a dream, do not occur in any sense is implausible since after waking I might maintain some of the beliefs that were formed in a dream. ...
Article
Full-text available
The experience of skilled action occurs in dreams if we take dream reports at face value. However, what these reports indicate requires nuanced analysis. It is uncertain what it means to perform any action in a dream whatsoever. If skilled actions do occur in dreams, this has important implications for both theory of action and theory of dreaming. Here, it is argued that since some dreams generate a convincing, hallucinated world where we have virtual bodies that interact with virtual objects, there is a sense in which we can perform virtual actions. Further, we can also perform skilfully, although not all apparent skilful performance is as it seems. Since the dream world is generated by the dreamer’s own mind, it can be difficult to determine whether the dream world simply allows goals to be achieved without the abilities that would be required in a similar waking scenario. Because of this, individual dream reports alone are insufficient to determine what skills are demonstrated in a particular dream. However, taken with evidence from REM sleep behaviour disorder, incompetent dreams, lucid dreams and motor-skill practise, it is likely that skilled virtual dream performance at times involves both opportunity for virtual behaviour and the display of competence. Evidence from cognitive science suggests that dreamers can also lose competence through forgetting and other cognitive incapacities but, more surprisingly, it is possible to gain abilities in a robust sense, consistent with the idea that some dreams, at least, are virtual realities rather than imagination.
... Though FA is quite well-known through culture (from movies and literature, for example), its prevalence among the general population has been almost entirely ignored by the scientific community. Only one online survey among LD practitioners showed a relatively high FA frequency, with 41% of respondents experiencing FA monthly and 71% experiencing it within one month prior to taking the survey [36]. This survey cannot represent actual FA prevalence, because LD practitioners may deal with FA more often than the average person. ...
Article
During REM sleep we normally experience dreams. However, there are other less common REM sleep phenomena, like lucid dreaming (LD), false awakening (FA), sleep paralysis (SP), and out of body experiences (OBE). LD occurs when one is conscious during dreaming, and FA occurs when one is dreaming but believes that has woken up. SP is characterized by skeletal muscle atonia and occurs mainly during awakening or falling asleep. OBE is the subjective sensation of ‘leaving the physical body’. Since all these phenomena happen during REM sleep, their frequency is probably connected. The goal of this research is to explore how these phenomena are connected to each other in terms of frequency. We surveyed 974 people on the streets of Moscow and found significant correlations between the phenomena. Of those surveyed, 88% have experienced at least one of the phenomena of interest (i.e., LD, OBE, FA, and SP), which appeared to be closely correlated to each other. Furthermore, 43% of respondents stated that they often experience at least one of these phenomena. We found that the recurrence of these phenomena correlated with sleep duration and dream recall frequency. The results of the survey provide better understanding of the nature of REM sleep dissociative phenomena. Cross-correlations between REM sleep dissociated phenomena, like lucid dreaming, sleep paralysis, out-of-body experiences, and false awakening, revealed by a survey
... According to him, demon-dreams always happen very near, before or after lucid dreams, and in them the dreamer undergoes attacks from strange nonhuman beings. Van Eeden's wrong-waking-up-dreams resemble so-called false awakenings-sleeprelated experiences in which the subjects erroneously believe that they have woken up, only to discover subsequently that the apparent awakening was part of a dream (Buzzi, 2011), but have an uncanny demoniacal quality, and the dreamer struggles to wake up from them (Van Eeden, 1913). Developing fearlessness through wrathful lucid dreams is also an important aspect of Tibetan dream yoga, in which the practitioner is advised to welcome such dreams as an opportunity for developing the practice (Wangyal, 1998). ...
Article
Full-text available
This article reports the first systematic study on lucid nightmares—terrifying lucid dreams with a lack of dream control. An online survey was completed by 634 participants, of whom 574 had had previous lucid dream experience. According to the reports of lucid dreamers, less than half of them had experienced a lucid nightmare, and only 1% of them could be considered as suffering from lucid nightmares—experiencing them once a week or more frequently. Lucid nightmares appear to be as distressing as ordinary nightmares. Lack of dream control and intense fear are among their most common features, followed by violent autonomous dream characters and the inability to wake up. Lucid nightmares are more likely to occur for women and nightmare sufferers, yet also for more frequent lucid dreamers and for those who experience lucid dreams spontaneously rather than them being induced deliberately. Key methodological points, for example, whether the awakening criterion in the definition of lucid nightmares should be included, are addressed, and suggestions for future research are provided.
... SP experiences are also sometimes accompanied by false awakenings-dreams where one has a vivid and realistic feeling of waking up in their own bed and engaging in usual activities only to realize that they are still asleep (Buzzi, 2011). While false awakenings are typically characterized as dream experiences, their phenomenology in terms of realism and possible state overlap is to a degree similar to SP. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Sleep paralysis is an experience of being temporarily unable to move or talk during the transitional periods between sleep and wakefulness: at sleep onset or upon awakening. Feeling of paralysis may be accompanied by a variety of vivid and intense sensory experiences, including mentation in visual, auditory, and tactile modalities, as well as a distinct feeling of presence. This chapter discusses a variety of sleep paralysis experiences from the perspective of enactive cognition and cultural neurophenomenology. Current knowledge of neurophysiology and associated conditions is presented, and some techniques for coping with sleep paralysis are proposed. As an experience characterized by a hybrid state of dreaming and waking, sleep paralysis offers a unique window into phenomenology of spontaneous thought in sleep. Penultima draft is available here: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1704.02342.pdf
... The frequency of this dreams within dreams was very low -below 1% (Krippner & Faith, 2001). False awakenings are quite common in lucid dreamers (Buzzi, 2011); however the present study did not include this specific. ...
Article
The present study analyzed the frequency of "dreaming about dreaming" in a long dream series (N=10,148 dreams) reported by a single participant. Overall, about 1.5% of the dreams of the series included references such as recording/telling a dream, recalling a dream, listening to a dream, a person dreams about the dreamer, dreams within the dream, dream interpretation within the dream, and talking about dreams in general. As the dreamer was engaged in these activities, the findings are in line with the continuity hypothesis. It would be very interesting to follow up this study by expanding it to larger samples, especially to other diligent dream journalists.
... But these selforganizing actions are mixed in with actions of the person him or herself who is able to consciously direct the action even while self-organizing processes such as internal generated patterns of behavior may be going on in the background. When lucid, there is both volitional and non-volitional control since when lucid one is in a hybrid state: one is aware that one is dreaming (Voss et al., 2009;Buzzi, 2011;Dresler et al., 2012). When lucid, both selforganization and dreamer-controlled action can occur. ...
Article
Full-text available
Through dreaming, a different facet of the self is created as a result of a self-organizing process in the brain. Self-organization in biological systems often happens as an answer to an environmental change for which the existing system cannot cope; self-organization creates a system that can cope in the newly changed environment. In dreaming, self-organization serves the function of organizing disparate memories into a dream since the dreamer herself is not able to control how individual memories become weaved into a dream. The self-organized dream provides, thereby, a wide repertoire of experiences; this expanded repertoire of experience results in an expansion of the self beyond that obtainable when awake. Since expression of the self is associated with activity in specific areas of the brain, the article also discusses the brain basis of the self by reviewing studies of brain injured patients, discussing brain imaging studies in normal brain functioning when focused, when daydreaming and when asleep and dreaming.
Article
Full-text available
Within the philosophy of mind, consciousness is currently understood as the expression of one or other cognitive modality, either intentionality (representation per se), transparency (immediacy of cognitive content consequent upon the unawareness of underlying representational processes) , subjectivity (first-person perspective) or reflexivity (autonoetic awareness). However, neither intentionality, subjectivity nor transparency adequately distinguishes conscious from nonconscious cognition. Consequently, the only genuine index or defining characteristic of consciousness is reflexivity, the capacity for autonoetic or self-referring, self-monitoring awareness. But the identification of reflexivity as the principal index of consciousness raises a major challenge in relation to the cognitive mechanism responsible for operationalizing such a reflexive state. Current reliance by higher-order and intrinsic self-representational theories on self-representing data structures to achieve reflexive self-awareness is highly problematic, suggesting a solution in terms of a self-referential processing regime.
Article
Full-text available
Consciousness is best understood in context, as one element of an interactive waking state in which the greater part of cognitive processing takes place in a nonconscious fashion. But if conscious and nonconscious processing are combined in the waking state, what distinguishes the former form the latter, what is consciousness, and what is its purpose? The answer to the second question depends crucially on our conclusion regarding the first. What is the property in virtue of which a state is conscious rather than nonconscious? In the following, it will be argued that of the answers most frequently proposed—intentionality, subjectivity, accessibility, reflexivity—only the final characteristic, reflexive, autonoetic awareness, is unique to the conscious state. Reflexivity can best be explained not as the product of a self-representational data structure, but as the expression of a recursive processing regime, in which cognition registers the properties of the processing state to a greater extent than properties of the content represented. And the principal characteristic of a reflexive processing state is cognitive reflexivity or autonoetic awareness.
Article
Full-text available
The goal of the study was to seek physiological correlates of lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is a dissociated state with aspects of waking and dreaming combined in a way so as to suggest a specific alteration in brain physiology for which we now present preliminary but intriguing evidence. We show that the unusual combination of hallucinatory dream activity and wake-like reflective awareness and agentive control experienced in lucid dreams is paralleled by significant changes in electrophysiology. 19-channel EEG was recorded on up to 5 nights for each participant. Lucid episodes occurred as a result of pre-sleep autosuggestion. Sleep laboratory of the Neurological Clinic, Frankfurt University. Six student volunteers who had been trained to become lucid and to signal lucidity through a pattern of horizontal eye movements. Results show lucid dreaming to have REM-like power in frequency bands delta and theta, and higher-than-REM activity in the gamma band, the between-states-difference peaking around 40 Hz. Power in the 40 Hz band is strongest in the frontal and frontolateral region. Overall coherence levels are similar in waking and lucid dreaming and significantly higher than in REM sleep, throughout the entire frequency spectrum analyzed. Regarding specific frequency bands, waking is characterized by high coherence in alpha, and lucid dreaming by increased delta and theta band coherence. In lucid dreaming, coherence is largest in frontolateral and frontal areas. Our data show that lucid dreaming constitutes a hybrid state of consciousness with definable and measurable differences from waking and from REM sleep, particularly in frontal areas.
Article
Full-text available
We elicited isolated sleep paralysis (ISP) from normal subjects by a nocturnal sleep interruption schedule. On four experimental nights, 16 subjects had their sleep interrupted for 60 minutes by forced awakening at the time when 40 minutes of nonrapid eye movement (NREM) sleep had elapsed from the termination of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in the first or third sleep cycle. This schedule produced a sleep onset REM period (SOREMP) after the interruption at a high rate of 71.9%. We succeeded in eliciting six episodes of ISP in the sleep interruptions performed (9.4%). All episodes of ISP except one occurred from SOREMP, indicating a close correlation between ISP and SOREMP. We recorded verbal reports about ISP experiences and recorded the polysomnogram (PSG) during ISP. All of the subjects with ISP experienced inability to move and were simultaneously aware of lying in the laboratory. All but one reported auditory/visual hallucinations and unpleasant emotions. PSG recordings during ISP were characterized by a REM/W stage dissociated state, i.e. abundant alpha electroencephalographs and persistence of muscle atonia shown by the tonic electromyogram. Judging from the PSG recordings, ISP differs from other dissociated states such as lucid dreaming, nocturnal panic attacks and REM sleep behavior disorders. We compare some of the sleep variables between ISP and non-ISP nights. We also discuss the similarities and differences between ISP and sleep paralysis in narcolepsy.
Article
Full-text available
1 I. INTRODUCTION 2 A. An Integrative Strategy 2 B. A State Space Model of the Brain-Mind 3 C. Caveat Lector 4 II. THE PHENOMENOLOGY AND PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY OF WAKING, SLEEPING AND DREAMING 5 DREAMING and the BRAIN: Toward a Cognitive Neuroscience of Conscious States http://home.earthlink.net/~sleeplab/bbs/BBS.html (1 of 222) [1/6/2000 2:48:02 PM] A. Early findings of distinct differences between REM and NREM mentation 6 B. Overview of the NREM-REM Sleep Mentation Controversy 12 1. REM Sleep Dreaming is not Qualitatively Unique 13 2. The Relationship Between Dream Features and Dream Report Length 17 C. Methodological Considerations in the Study of Dreaming 21 1. The Reduction of Psychological States to Narrative Reports 21 2. The Sleep Laboratory Environment 26 3. The Question of "Similarity" and "Difference" 29 4. The Source and Fate of Dream Memory 33 5. Type I vs. Type II Statistical Analyses 39 6. The Need for New Approaches 40 III. THE COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE OF WAKING, SLEEPING AN...
Article
Since 1896 I have studied my own dreams, writing down the most interesting in my diary. In 1898 I began to keep a separate account for a particular kind of dream which seemed to me the most important, and I have continued it up to this day. Altogether I collected about 500 dreams, of which 352 are the particular kind just mentioned. This material may form the basis of what I hope may become a scientific structure of some value, if leisure and strength to build it up carefully do not fail me. In the meantime, with a pardonable anxiety lest the ideas should not find expression in time, I condensed them into a work of art--a novel called The Bride of Dreams. The fictitious form enabled me to deal freely with delicate matters, and had also the advantage that it expressed rather unusual ideas in a less aggressive way--esoterically, so to speak. Yet I want to express these ideas also in a form that will appeal more directly to the scientific mind, and I know I cannot find a better audience for this purpose than the members of the Society for Psychical Research, who are accustomed to treat investigations and ideas of an unusual sort in a broad-minded and yet critical spirit. This paper is only a preliminary sketch, a short announcement of a greater work, which I hope to be able to complete in later years.
Article
A review of the scientific literature clarifies several chronobio-logic features of dreaming. The literature supports the conclu-sions that dreaming intensity, and to a lesser extent dreamlike quality, is modulated by a sinusoidal, 90-minute ultradian oscillation, a "switchlike" circadian oscillation, a 12-hour circasemidian rhythm, and a 28-day circatrigintan rhythm (for women). Further, access to dream memory sources appears to be modulated by a 7-day circaseptan clock. Greater clarifi-cation of these rhythmic influences on dreaming may help to explain diverse and often contradictory findings in the dream research literature, to better relate dreaming to waking-state cognitive processes, to better explain relationships between dis-turbed phase relationships and dream disturbances, and to shed new light on the problems of dreaming's function and biologic markers. In the 50 years since discovery of a link between dreaming and the endogenous biorhythmic events defining rapid eye movement (REM) sleep 1 there has occurred strikingly little convergence between chronobiology and the study of dreaming—despite a vast accumulation of research in both domains. While many of the findings in one of these domains have clear implications for understanding basic and applied questions in the other, there still is no comprehensive theory that links chronobiologic concepts and findings to the processes of dreaming. This chapter is intended to redress this situation by reviewing evidence that is pertinent to the chronobiologic nature of dreaming. Five sections review chronobiologic processes of different types: ultradian, circasemidian, circadian, circaseptan, and circatrigintan. In this chapter, the term dreaming is used in an inclusive sense equivalent to that of sleep mentation, in other words, the occurrence of any subjectively experienced cognitive events during sleep.
Article
Dreaming has fascinated and mystified humankind for ages: the bizarre and evanescent qualities of dreams have invited boundless speculation about their origin, meaning and purpose. For most of the twentieth century, scientific dream theories were mainly psychological. Since the discovery of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the neural underpinnings of dreaming have become increasingly well understood, and it is now possible to complement the details of these brain mechanisms with a theory of consciousness that is derived from the study of dreaming. The theory advanced here emphasizes data that suggest that REM sleep may constitute a protoconscious state, providing a virtual reality model of the world that is of functional use to the development and maintenance of waking consciousness.
Article
This paper summarizes the development of the concept of metachoric experiences from 1961 onwards. The name of metachoric experience was given to one in which the whole of the environment was replaced by a hallucinatory one, although this may provide a precise replica of the physical world and appear to be completely continuous with normal experience. Prior to 1968 three types of metachoric experiences had been recognized; lucid dreams, out-of-the-body experiences (OBEs) and false awakenings, all of which showed interrelationships. The Institute's 1968 appeal for apparitional experiences led to a recognition that many of these were probably metachoric. This was suggested among other things by certain cases in which the lighting of the whole field of view changes, thus indicating that the experience was completely hallucinatory. The study of apparitions led also to the concept of waking dreams, i.e. completely hallucinatory experiences which may be initiated and terminated without any awareness of discontinuity on the part of the subject. These experiences seem to be capable of considerable apparent extension in time, thus providing a possible explanation of some reports of UFO sightings and of some of the more anomalous experiences of psychical research. In this connection the paper discusses the well-known Versailles experience of Miss Moberly and Miss Jourdain, and a published case of C.G. Jung. In conclusion some of the most obvious similarities and differences between the different types of metachoric experiences are discussed.
Article
During an experiment on nocturnal sleep interruption, we observed a unique case of hallucination without sleep paralysis during the sleep-onset REM period in a normal individual. We documented the polysomnogram recorded during this hallucination. The polysomnogram showed a mixed pattern of Stages REM and W, with muscle-tone inhibition, rapid eye movements (REMs), slow eye movements (SEMs), and abundant alpha EEG trains. The blocking of alpha EEG trains by REMs appeared to reflect visual processing similar to that which occurs during waking. This hallucination was distinct from ordinary sleep-onset mentation in that it included strong emotional components and in that the subject simultaneously experienced both hallucinatory mentation and reality contact. This hallucination may resemble sleep paralysis with regard to its physiological and psychological background, and the discrimination of these two phenomena may depend on the subject's own awareness of muscle-tone inhibition.
Article
Hypnagogic and hypnopompic experiences (HHEs) accompanying sleep paralysis (SP) are often cited as sources of accounts of supernatural nocturnal assaults and paranormal experiences. Descriptions of such experiences are remarkably consistent across time and cultures and consistent also with known mechanisms of REM states. A three-factor structural model of HHEs based on their relations both to cultural narratives and REM neurophysiology is developed and tested with several large samples. One factor, labeled Intruder, consisting of sensed presence, fear, and auditory and visual hallucinations, is conjectured to originate in a hypervigilant state initiated in the midbrain. Another factor, Incubus, comprising pressure on the chest, breathing difficulties, and pain, is attributed to effects of hyperpolarization of motoneurons on perceptions of respiration. These two factors have in common an implied alien "other" consistent with occult narratives identified in numerous contemporary and historical cultures. A third factor, labeled Unusual Bodily Experiences, consisting of floating/flying sensations, out-of-body experiences, and feelings of bliss, is related to physically impossible experiences generated by conflicts of endogenous and exogenous activation related to body position, orientation, and movement. Implications of this last factor for understanding of orientational primacy in self-consciousness are considered. Central features of the model developed here are consistent with recent work on hallucinations associated with hypnosis and schizophrenia.
Article
Numerous studies have provided evidence for the efficacy of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including recent studies showing it to be more efficient than therapist-directed flooding. But few theoretical explanations of how EMDR might work have been offered. Shapiro, in her original description of EMDR, proposed that its directed eye movements mimic the saccades of rapid eye movement sleep (REM), but provided no clear explanation of how such mimicry might lead to clinical improvement. We now revisit her original proposal and present a complete model for how EMDR could lead to specific improvement in PTSD and related conditions. We propose that the repetitive redirecting of attention in EMDR induces a neurobiological state, similar to that of REM sleep, which is optimally configured to support the cortical integration of traumatic memories into general semantic networks. We suggest that this integration can then lead to a reduction in the strength of hippocampally mediated episodic memories of the traumatic event as well as the memories' associated, amygdala-dependent, negative affect. Experimental data in support of this model are reviewed and possible tests of the model are suggested.
Article
Sleep paralysis (SP) entails a period of paralysis upon waking or falling asleep and is often accompanied by terrifying hallucinations. Two situational conditions for sleep paralysis, body position (supine, prone, and left or right lateral decubitus) and timing (beginning, middle, or end of sleep), were investigated in two studies involving 6730 subjects, including 4699 SP experients. A greater number of individuals reported SP in the supine position than all other positions combined. The supine position was also 3-4 times more common during SP than when normally falling asleep. The supine position during SP was reported to be more prevalent at the middle and end of sleep than at the beginning suggesting that the SP episodes at the later times might arise from brief microarousals during REM, possibly induced by apnea. Reported frequency of SP was also greater among those consistently reporting episodes at the beginning and middle of sleep than among those reporting episodes when waking up at the end of sleep. The effects of position and timing of SP on the nature of hallucinations that accompany SP were also examined. Modest effects were found for SP timing, but not body position, and the reported intensity of hallucinations and fear during SP. Thus, body position and timing of SP episodes appear to affect both the incidence and, to a lesser extent, the quality of the SP experience.
On the edge of reality. Paper presented at the British Association Annual Festival of Science, Birmingham
  • S Blackmore
Blackmore, S. (1996). On the edge of reality. Paper presented at the British Association Annual Festival of Science, Birmingham, September 10, 1996. Theme: The psychology of anomalous experience. Available at: http://www. susanblackmore.co.uk/Conferences/ba96.html
Borderlands of consciousness: between dream world and wake world
  • J A Cheyne
Cheyne, J.A. (2004). Borderlands of consciousness: between dream world and wake world. Paper presented at Toward a Science of Consciousness 2004, Tucson, Arizona, April 10, 2004.
Lucid Dreaming: The Paradox of Consciousness During Sleep
  • C Green
  • C Mccreery
Green, C., & McCreery, C. (1994). Lucid Dreaming: The Paradox of Consciousness During Sleep. London: Routledge.
A suggested experimental method of producing false awakenings with possible resulting lucidity or O.B.E. -The "FAST" (False-Awakening with State-Testing)
  • K Hearne
Hearne, K. (1982). A suggested experimental method of producing false awakenings with possible resulting lucidity or O.B.E. -The "FAST" (False-Awakening with State-Testing) Technique. Lucidity Letter, 1 (4): 32.
Individual differences in conscious experience
  • S Laberge
  • D J Degracia
LaBerge, S. & DeGracia, D.J. (2000). Varieties of lucid dreaming experience. In: R.G. Kunzendorf and B. Wallace (Eds), Individual differences in conscious experience. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 269-307