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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: February 2019

Chapter 7 - What Are Dreams?

from Part II - Dreams


Dreams are cognitions that are typically dependent on sleep. However, not all forms of cognition occur during sleep. In spontaneously recalled dreams the visual sense predominates. It is rare to remember a smell or a taste from the dream. Reading and computations (arithmetic) do not frequently occur in dreams. Many dreams contain unusual amounts of emotion, and may provide greater access to older memories – -especially during late morning REM dreams. While impairment in critical self-reflective capacities may occur in dreams, it is not clear if all dreams are characterized by impairment in self-reflectiveness. The dreaming mind/brain spontaneously and automatically produces dreams in the form of narratives and likely uses cognitive operations like Freud’s dreamwork to do so.