About this Research Topic
Dreams are subjectively rich conscious experiences arising under drastically different behavioral and functional conditions than waking consciousness. Since the discovery of REM sleep and its association with dreaming in the 1950s, dream research has developed into a multi-faceted field of scientific inquiry. The importance of dreaming for general theories of consciousness is increasingly being recognized by philosophers (Metzinger 2003; Revonsuo 2006) and researchers from psychology and cognitive neuroscience (Hobson 2009; Nielsen 2010; Nir & Tononi 2010). However, the theoretical discussion of dreaming is characterized by many controversies and open questions, and in general, the topic of dreaming remains poorly integrated into the broader field of consciousness research.
The present research topic aims to promote interdisciplinary approaches to dreaming by inviting contributions from researchers working at the intersection of philosophy of mind, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and sleep and dream research. Relevant questions include, but are not limited to, the following:
• What are the neural correlates of different types of dreams and how are they related to the different stages of sleep? What are the neural correlates of specific types of dream content?
• What are the functions of dreaming, and does dreaming fulfill a specific evolutionary function at all? What, if any, is the contribution of dreaming (and not just of the stages of REM and NREM sleep) to memory processing?
• How exactly can the comparative study of dreaming and wakefulness contribute to consciousness research?
• What is the relationship between dreaming (as well as different types of dreams, e.g. lucid dreams, nightmares, and disorders of dreaming) and standard, altered, and pathological wake states? Can dreaming be regarded as a model of psychosis or even of conscious experience itself? And what is the relationship between dreams, hallucinations, and imagination?
• How can the investigation of dreams contribute to the theoretical understanding of self-consciousness?
Theoretical articles, review articles and original research articles are welcome.
• Hobson, J. A. (2009). REM sleep and dreaming: towards a theory of protoconsciousness. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10(November), 803-813.
• Metzinger, T. (2003). Being No One: The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity. Cambridge, MA & London: MIT Press.
• Nielsen, T. A. (2010). Dream analysis and classification: The reality simulation perspective. In M. Kryger, T. Roth, & W. C. Dement (Eds.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (pp. 595-603). New York: Elsevier.
• Nir, Y., & Tononi, G. (2010). Dreaming and the brain: from phenomenology to neurophysiology. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 14(2), 88-100.
• Revonsuo, A. (2006). Inner Presence: Consciousness as a Biological Phenomenon. Cambridge, MA & London: MIT Press.