Continuity Hypothesis

According to the Continuity Hypothesis of dreaming, there is continuity between waking life and dreams, in both directions: waking life affects and feeds into (“is continuous with”) our dreams, and dreams affect and feed into waking life. Probably anyone who remembers even a handful of their own dreams knows that this is the case. There is a huge amount of empirical evidence for the hypothesis, and, more importantly, research has started to parse out how this happens. For example, from my own research I have discovered that we are more likely to dream of things from waking life if they are very emotional than if they are more everyday and mundane, and that we are more likely to dream of relationship concerns than other kinds of concerns, such as financial concerns. The more we understand the different ways in which we dream of waking life, the more we will learn about what reasons there might be that we have evolved to dream. Of course, dreams are not exactly like waking life, and there is much more to dreaming that the spillover from our waking experiences: for example, dreams can be very bizarre, and can be hyperassociative.

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