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The prevalence of typical dream themes challenges the specificity of the threat simulation theory

  • Anne Germain (a1), Tore A. Nielsen (a2), Antonio Zadra (a1) and Jacques Montplaisir (a2)

Abstract

The evolutionary theory of threat simulation during dreaming indicates that themes appropriate to ancestral survival concerns (threats) should be disproportionately represented in dreams. Our studies of typical dream themes in students and sleep-disordered patients indicate that threatening dreams involving chase and pursuit are indeed among the three most prevalent themes, thus supporting Revonsuo's theory. However, many of the most prevalent themes are of positive, not negative, events (e.g., sex, flying) and of current, not ancestral, threat scenarios (e.g., schoolwork). Moreover, many clearly ancestral themes (e.g., snakes, earthquakes) are not prevalent at all in dreams. Thus, these findings challenge the specificity of the threat simulation theory.

[Revonsuo]

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The prevalence of typical dream themes challenges the specificity of the threat simulation theory

  • Anne Germain (a1), Tore A. Nielsen (a2), Antonio Zadra (a1) and Jacques Montplaisir (a2)

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