Cognitive and emotional processes during dreaming

Cognitive and emotional processes during dreaming

Dream is a state of consciousness characterized by internally-generated sensory, cognitive
and emotional experiences occurring during sleep. Dream reports tend to be particularly
abundant, with complex, emotional, and perceptually vivid experiences after awakenings
from rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This is why our current knowledge of the cerebral
correlates of dreaming, mainly derives from studies of REM sleep. Neuroimaging results
show that REM sleep is characterized by a specific pattern of regional brain activity. We
demonstrate that this heterogeneous distribution of brain activity during sleep explains
many typical features in dreams. Reciprocally, specific dream characteristics suggest the
activation of selective brain regions during sleep. Such an integration of neuroimaging data
of human sleep, mental imagery, and the content of dreams is critical for current models of
dreaming; it also provides neurobiological support for an implication of sleep and dream-
ing in some important functions such as emotional regulation
Dreaming represents a major facet of human experience. Yet, the nature of the dream-state is highly subjective and a gen-
uinely personal experience making a scientific analysis of dreaming somewhat prohibitive. Dreaming is a state of conscious-
ness characterized by internally-generated sensory-motor, verbal, cognitive and emotional experiences, which may unfold in

actions and events forming imaginary plots


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