Dream State

Immersion in a dream

Dreams Here we are all, by day; by night, we’re hurled By dreams, each one into a several [separate] world — Robert Herrick (1591 - 1674)

  • We experience being in the dream
  • Two ways of experience
    • Identification with dream ego from first-person (field perspective)
    • Identification with dream ego from third-person (observer perspective)
  • We cannot inspect (nonlucid) dreams directly
    • We can inspect only our waking memories of dreams
    • We have certain cultural and linguistic practices of dream reporting whereby we make stories of our dreams (linguistic relativism for dreams)

Different views (Simulation Models of Dreaming)

  1. Orthodox View
    • Precepts: dreaming involves senses that we experience when we are waking, except the experiences of things that are not there or have weak correlation with what is there
    • Beliefs: when we dream we believe to be true. In most cases, these are false so dreaming involves mainly false beliefs
  2. Hallucination model
    • Dreaming is immersive spatiotemporal hallucination
    • Immersive: full immersion in the dream world
    • Spatiotemporal: full immersion in a here and now
    • Hallucination: experience that seems exactly like a perception but has weak stimulus correlation with the environment
  3. Imagination model
    • Dreaming involves experiences of the sort we have when we imagine (mental images)
    • When we dream that , we imagine that (however, imagining that does not entail believing that )
    • Dreams can be indeterminate in their sensory features (e.g. indeterminate in colour)
    • Object: what about emotions? Some emotions can only arise from belief
      1. When I dream that , I experience fear, elation, etc.
      2. Such emotions arising from an attitude that can only arise from a belief that
      3. So when I dream that , I believe that
    • Counterargument: contradiction, you still feel these emotion reading fiction
      • Same premises as above, but final conclusion is that: when I read in a fiction that , I do NOT believe that .
      • Way out of this contradiction is to deny premise 2)
    • Eye movements during lucid-REM sleep resemble waking perception more than they resemble waking imagination
    • Upshot: to dream is to imagine a dream world and to identify with the dream ego immersed in that world

Lucid Dreaming

  • A dream in which you can direct your attention to the dreamlike quality of the state
  • Features
    • Greater clarity/vividness
    • Realism
    • Emotional exhilaration
    • Sense of freedom
  • Sense of self in lucid dream state
    • Self-as-dreamer: “I am dreaming” (knowledge of being asleep in bed)
    • Self-as-dreamed (dream ego): “I am flying” (default conceptualizations of self)
  • Is lucid dreaming knowing you’re dreaming or dreaming you’re dreaming?
    • Did they just dream that they were aware that they were dreaming?
    • Knowing you’re dreaming seems to involve a certain kind of attention and cognitive control that is missing when you dream you’re dreaming
    • Seems to be a tell-tale LRLR eye moment signal during REM sleep when participants realize they are dreaming