Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit Invited Speaker Series 2018/19
There is considerable research on how REM sleep and Slow Wave Sleep are related to memory consolidation. These consolidation processes prioritize emotional and salient memories. Dreaming also incorporates emotional memories from waking life, and so it has been proposed that dreaming reflects functional neural processes during sleep. Arguments in favor and against this possibility will be explored. That dreams refer to waking life experiences in an associative or metaphorical manner has been seen to be a result of processes of linking new memories to established memories, guided by emotions common to each. That we are embodied in the dream, in a simulation of the waking world, may be required for full processing of emotions, or may have another, practice-based virtual reality function. Separate from the debate on dream function is the debate on whether the consideration of dreams by the dreamer, when awake, can elicit insight. This possibility is supported by the finding that dreams preferentially incorporate emotional experiences and refer to them metaphorically. Designs for testing this against the null hypothesis, that dreams do not tell us anything new, will be discussed.
NB: Preceding his talk (from 5 pm to 6 pm in Room 219A of the Richard Hoggart Building), Mark Blagrove will run an experiential Ullman dream appreciation group with artwork produced so as to revisit the dream. Note that, although there is no need to book, places on this workshop are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
This session will follow the group technique described by psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Montague Ullman (1996, Appreciating Dreams: a Group Approach, Sage books). The stages of the technique are: recall and clarification of the dream; groups members’ projections about the dream; dreamer describes their recent waking life; dream is read back; connections between dream and dreamer’s waking life are suggested by the group. The Gains from Dream Interpretation questionnaire will be completed. As a separate activity, during the session, artist Dr Julia Lockheart (Swansea College of Art, University of Wales; and Goldsmiths, University of London) will create a painting of the dream onto a page taken (with publisher’s permission) from Freud’s book The Interpretation of Dreams, incorporating into the artwork the text format and keywords. A gallery of these artworks, and rationale for this art science collaboration, including hypothesized empathy changes, can be seen at http://DreamsID.com. An enlarged print of the artwork is sent to the dreamer after the event and can be used to revisit the dream with friends and family.
Professor Mark Blagrove researches the memory consolidation functions of sleep, the relationship of dreaming to memory consolidation and to waking life events and concerns, and the effects on the dreamer and on listeners of considering and discussing dream content.
Dates & times
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