Similarities and differences between dreaming and waking cognition: An exploratory study

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Elsevier B. V.


Thirty-eight “practiced” dreamers (Study 1) and 50 “novice” dreamers (Study 2) completed questionnaires assessing the cognitive, metacognitive, and emotional qualities of recent waking and dreaming experiences. The present findings suggest that dreaming cognition is more similar to waking cognition than previously assumed and that the differences between dreaming and waking cognition are more quantitative than qualitative. Results from the two studies were generally consistent, indicating that high-order cognition during dreaming is not restricted to individuals practiced in dream recall or self-observation. None of the measured features was absent or infrequent in reports of either dreaming or waking experiences. Recollections of dreaming and waking experiences were similar for some cognitive features (e.g., attentional processes, internal commentary, and public self-consciousness) and different for other features (e.g., choice, event-related self-reflection, and affect).