Dreaming : Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams
Kluwer Academic/Human Sciences Press, Inc., New York City

Dreaming 12, Number 3, September 2002
 
 


CONTENTS

Counterfactual Cognitive Operations in Dreams
Patrick McNamara, Jensine Andresen, Joshua Arrowood, and Glen Messer
Page 121
[Available online]

Arousability and Dreaming
Robert A. Hicks, Eileen Fortin, and Glenn S. Brassington
Page 135

The Sanctification of Dreams: Prevalence and Implications
Russell E. Phillips III and Kenneth I. Pargament
Page 141

Nightmares as a Coping Mechanism for Stress
Dante Picchioni, Brandy Goeltzenleucher, Del N. Green, Mary J. Convento, Rebecca Crittenden, Michelle Hallgren, and Robert A. Hicks
Page 155


Patrick McNamara, Jensine Andresen, Joshua Arrowood, and Glen Messer

Counterfactual Cognitive Operations in Dreams

Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 12(3) 121-133, Sep 2002.

Abstract:

We hypothesized that counterfactual (CF) thought occurs in dreams and that cognitive operations in dreams function to identify a norm violation or novel outcome (recorded in episodic memory) and then to integrate this new content into memory by generating counterfactuals to the violation. In study 1 we compared counterfactual content in 50 dream reports, 50 pain memory reports and 50 pleasant memory reports (equated for word length) and found a significantly greater number of CFs in dream and in pain memory reports relative to pleasant memory reports. In study 2 we used a more liberal method for scoring CF content and analyzed 34 dream reports obtained from elderly individuals engaged in an ongoing study of neuropsychologic, health and religiosity variables. Study 2 also examined neuropsychologic associations to CF content variables. In the elderly sample and with our more liberal scoring procedures we found that norm violations along with counterfactual-like attempts to correct the violations occurred in 97% of reports. In 47% of these cases (roughly half of all reports), attempts to undo the violation obeyed at least one constraint on mutability typically observed in laboratory studies of CF processing. Cognitive operations associated with attempts to undo the norm violation (e.g. transforming focal actors or the most recent causal antecedent of the violation) were significantly correlated with measures of right frontal function. We conclude that dreaming may involve a process of learning from novel outcomes (particularly negative outcomes) by simulating alternative ways of handling these outcomes through counterfactual cognitive processes.

KEY WORDS: dreams; counterfactuals; mental simulations; norm theory; right frontal cortex.


Robert A. Hicks, Eileen Fortin, and Glenn S. Brassington

Arousability and Dreaming

Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams.
Vol 12(3) 135-139, Sep 2002.

Abstract:

This study finds that dream valence and the frequency with which several types of dreams were experienced are related to arousability. Specifically, compared to 214 university students who were classified as low in arousability, 182 university students who were high in arousability reported more frequent dreams for all seven types of dreams measured. This relationship between arousability and dreaming was especially salient for the three types of nightmares, (i.e., Fantastic Nightmares, Posttraumatic Nightmares, and Night Terrors) that were measured.

KEY WORDS: dream types; nightmares; arousability.


Russell E. Phillips III and Kenneth I. Pargament

The Sanctification of Dreams: Prevalence and Implications

Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 12(3) 141-153, Sep 2002

Abstract:

Many scientists and practitioners have debated about the function of dreams. Though some researchers have described dreams as purposeless random neuronal firings, others have suggested that dreams serve an adaptive function with certain dream characteristics having positive implications. Drawing on other studies of sanctification, this study examines whether imbuing a dream with qualities of the sacred relates to beneficial outcomes. Examining a college student sample of 168, it was found that the more sacred the dream was perceived, the more beneficial the outcome reported from a stressful life event which related to the dream. These outcomes include less negative affect and more positive affect, psychological and spiritual growth. Sanctification of dreams predicted these outcome variables over and above other religious measures as well as dream measures. The implications of these findings are discussed.

KEY WORDS: dreams; religion; spirituality.


Dante Picchioni, Brandy Goeltzenleucher, Del N. Green, Mary J. Convento, Rebecca Crittenden, Michelle Hallgreen, and Robert A. Hicks

Nightmares as a Coping Mechanism for Stress

Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 12(3) 155-169, Sep 2002.

The cause of nightmares remains unclear. However, previous research suggests that stress may play a key role and that nightmares may actually serve a beneficial function. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the overall relationship between these two variables and assess the hypothesis that nightmares serve as a coping mechanism for stress. To accomplish these goals, a group of 412 psychology students were separated into low, medium and high nightmare frequency groups as well as low, medium and high nightmare intensity groups. Comparisons were then conducted for daily stressors, life stressors, social support, and coping. Most notably, this study demonstrated a positive association between nightmares and coping with stress. The overall pattern seen in the analyses reflect the significant relationship between nightmares and stress, while the finding that nightmares were positively associated with coping bolsters the supposition that nightmares may help to alleviate stress.

KEY WORDS: dreams; nightmares; stress; coping; social support.

  


 

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