Cognition and metacognition in dreaming and waking: Comparisons of first and third-person ratings

Document Type


Publication Date



Human Sciences Press, Inc./Springer


Two approaches to measuring dreaming and waking cognition were compared. Forty-three subjects wrote detailed descriptions of a dreaming and a waking experience and also used a questionnaire to evaluate the presence of particular types of cognition and metacognition in the target experience. Later, independent judges rated the subjects' narrative reports for the incidence of the same types of cognition and metacognition. A lower incidence of some types of cognition was observed when assessment was based on judges' ratings of the narrative reports than when subjects themselves assessed the incidence of these events. However, the basic relationship between dreaming and waking cognition was consistent for both measurement approaches. Subjects' and judges' evaluations of dreaming and waking experiences did not differ for internal commentary, sudden attention, focused attention, public self-consciousness, emotion, self-reflection, and thwarted intentions, although both subjects and judges attributed choice to waking experiences more often than to dreaming experiences. The value of using converging measures to compare dreaming and waking cognition is discussed, as well as whether dreaming cognition is best conceptualized as continuous or discontinuous with waking cognition.