Dreaming and waking: Similarities and differences revisited

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Elsevier B. V.


Dreaming is often characterized as lacking high-order cognitive (HOC) skills. In two studies, we test the alternative hypothesis that the dreaming mind is highly similar to the waking mind. Multiple experience samples were obtained from late-night REM sleep and waking, following a systematic protocol described in Kahan (2001). Results indicated that reported dreaming and waking experiences are surprisingly similar in their cognitive and sensory qualities. Concurrently, ratings of dreaming and waking experiences were markedly different on questions of general reality orientation and logical organization (e.g., the bizarreness or typicality of the events, actions, and locations). Consistent with other recent studies (e.g., Bulkeley and Kahan, 2008 and Kozmová and Wolman, 2006), experiences sampled from dreaming and waking were more similar with respect to their process features than with respect to their structural features.