Research in Focus
Waking from a vivid dream – be it exciting or terrifying – is an almost universal human experience. Our dreams can give us great pleasure or upset us for long after they are over. We explore our dreams, talk about our dreams, and wonder what they say about us. Dream culture is rich and valuable. Consequently we are not sufficiently puzzled by the process of dreaming: the vivid, detailed, conscious, perceptual activity which seemingly goes on while we sleep. But private, inner realms that can only be reported on after the fact should be very puzzling. Furthermore, there are good reasons for not taking the apparent recollection of dreaming at face value. And when we do not treat dream reports as simple memories, we are no longer committed to explaining dreams by a process of dreaming which occurred during sleep – instead we can see dream reports as creative acts of confabulation by the waking mind, acquired in and constrained by its social and cultural context. We can and do have dreams without dreaming.
Each Research in Focus event is followed by a drinks reception and a 3Sixty immersive installation in the Ron Cooke Hub.